Where to File for Divorce
There are many ways to break up your marital relationships in Lancaster County. The choice will largely depend on whether there are kids under 18 involved or any unsolved issues, as well as on how much the spouses are willing to pay.
For example, the couples who have many property or custody disputes will most likely end up fighting in the court accompanied by their attorneys. It’s also one of the most expensive ways of untying the marital bonds as it includes high attorney charges and court fees.
On the other hand, the exes-to-be who want to avoid court hearing may choose to go through a mediation or a collaboration divorce processes, which are especially recommended for couples with minor kids.
Finally, if you and your partner can discuss and solve the issues that often arise in divorce, you can file the papers without legal assistance. It will keep you from trial and save your pocket.
Divorce Courts in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
You don’t get divorced every day. So, when the time comes, it causes a lot of confusion as couples don’t know where to file divorce papers in Lancaster County. To make sure you’re on the right track, check the list of the courts at the bottom of the page, or contact a Lancaster County Court, PA to clear out all the details.
|Court Name:||Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas|
|Court Title:||In the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania|
|Clerk Name:||Katherine Wood-Jacobs|
|Court Location:||50 North Duke Street, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17608|
|Filing Fees:||Will vary depending on complexity of the divorce case.|
|Party Titles:||Plaintiff and Defendant
(Plaintiff is the filing spouse)
|Initial Document Filed:||Complaint for Divorce|
|Court Location Map:|
Lancaster County Divorce Filing Fees
Divorce is not free, and you will have to pay Lancaster county filing fees in the amount of $333.73. In some cases, when spouses can’t afford to cover the fees, they can be excused from paying them if they ask the court to continue In Forma Pauperis (IFP).
Especially after the COVID-19 situation, there is a strict procedure for paying the fees. Thus, the payment of Lancaster county court fees, or alternatively a fully completed IFP petition, has to be sent to the Clerk’s Office by mail either together with other divorce papers or within 3 business days if the papers were sent electronically.
The Lancaster country district clerk filing fees can be paid either with a money order or with a attorney’s check. In the case if the IFP petition is not accepted, Plaintiff has 20 days to cover the fees from the moment the notification of denial was received.
Lancaster County Court Forms for an Uncontested Divorce
Without special knowledge, it may be hard to understand which family court forms for divorce you have to prepare for your exact divorce situation. To make this job a little less burdensome, here is the list of forms required for filing a divorce in Lancaster County:
Complaint for Divorce. This is the primary form a Plaintiff must file to launch a divorce process. It contains a request to grant divorce, the reason of such request, as well as the party’s demands. Take into account that for the cases with and without minors involved there are two different forms required.
Summons. It notifies Defendant of a 30-day period to file the answer, or else, that the default judgment will be made.
Verification. It serves to prove the truthfulness of the information included in the Complaint and should be signed by Plaintiff in the presence of a notary.
Acknowledgment of Service and Summons proves to the court that Defendant has received the Lancaster county divorce papers and waives any other service of process.
Affidavit of Consent. A document that proves that both parties are willing to end their legal relationship.
Settlement Agreement. The document covers the spouses’ agreement as to how the property and debts are divided, who gets the custody rights, who pays the alimony, and other major issues that arise in a divorce. The two types of this form would differ depending on whether minor children are involved or not.
Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit. This form includes information about the party’s financial situation and the assets owned, which is used by the court when solving money-related issues. Each party under divorce must complete the applicable form.
Mandatory Seminar Notice. Serves to notify the parties with minor children that they are required to attend a seminar for parents before the divorce can be finalized.
Final Judgment and Decree. Lancaster County Divorce Decree is a court’s decision that finalizes divorce and includes court’s orders as to property rights, child custody, visitation rights and procedure, etc. In an uncontested divorce, it simply approves the Settlement Agreement.
Report of Divorce, Annulment or Dissolution of Marriage. This form includes the most important information about your case and is used rather for statistical purposes.
How to File for Divorce in Lancaster County
It is assumed that you already have the required package of documents for the uncontested divorce in Lancaster. Now, it’s time to sort out what you need to do with them to start your divorce process.
Step 1. Filing the Complaint
Print out your complaint in three copies. Before the COVID-19, Lancaster county divorce filings involved going to the Office of the Clerk of Family Court. There, they would stamp the copies and take the payment, with one copy keeping in the office and two others giving back to you.
In a during-covid situation, you have an opportunity to deliver the papers through mail or electronically.
Step 2. Serving the Defendant
As soon as you have file-stamped copies of your Complaint, one copy should be delivered to the other party together with the waiver of service. The Defendant has to sign and notarize these documents to then take them back to the Clerk’s Office.
Step 3. Finalizing the Divorce
Once the filing for divorce in Lancaster county, PA is over, the state would grant the spouses extra 90 days of waiting period in case they might reconsider their decision. After this period, the parties have to file their Affidavit of Consent. The divorce will be finalized and the parties officially named single once the Final Judgment and Decree is signed and the papers are brought to the Clerk’s Office.