Divorce papers in Pennsylvania — filing for divorce in PA

Online divorce in Pennsylvania

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How to get divorce in Pennsylvania

The information below will help understand more about the divorce in Pennsylvania.

Learn about the common steps of how to get divorce in Pennsylvania:


The marriage must have legal force, in other words it is recognized by state law.


The procedure have to comply with the conditions of the state of residence, that is, be a resident of Pennsylvania for 6 months before filing a suit in court.


Explicit grounds for divorce. State law provides a choice of a list of different no-fault and fault grounds. If the Pennsylvania divorce papers indicate fault reasons, the evidence should be provided to the court of wrongful acts from the part of the spouse.


Choose the type of divorce. If both of the spouses want to dissolve the marriage and have no disputable issues or they have already been resolved, then the interested party can qualify for a quick type of divorce. If there are disagreements between parties and are applying for divorce on the basis of fault reasons, then the process of divorce can take more time.


When the divorce form documents are ready, they have to be fied in court and the copies of documents should send to the spouse. If the spouse applying for an uncontested divorce, then he or she do not need to send copies of the Pennsylvania divorce papers to other spouse.


If the interested person intend to get a divorce in Pennsylvania, then at least one of the spouses must live in the state for 6 months prior to filing an application to the court. The spouse must also file a petition in the county of which the couple are a residents.

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Valid grounds to get divorce in Pennsylvania

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One of the most important conditions for obtaining a divorce in Pennsylvania should be the existence of grounds that led to the fact that the spouse wants to break the marriage. State law recognizes 2 types of reasons that the spouse can specify in the Pennsylvania divorce papers: no-fault and fault.

The no-fault grounds include:


A serious mental illness that lasted for 18 months preceding the filing of the claim in court, and there is no hope for recovery within the next 18 months.


Both spouses agree that the marriage is irrevocably violated (which is also known as mutual consent), 90 days have passed since the beginning of the process of divorce and both spouses have submitted affidavits that confirm the fact that parties want to get a divorce.


At least one of the partners claims that the marriage is irretrievably broken, while he or she submits an affidavit stating that the parties live separate from each other and do not cohabit for at least 2 years prior to filing the petition.
If the basis for divorce is the mutual consent of the spouses, then the court may require up to 3 consultation sessions within 90 days after the commencement of the divorce proceedings.

If the reason for the divorce in Pennsylvania is that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the court sees that there is a real possibility of reconciliation of the spouses, the court can decide on extending the process for 120 days, but if the spouses do not agree on a long waiting period, the court can extend the process no more than for 90 days, and 3 or less consultation sessions can be appointed. The court should also decide whether to consult if there is a child under 16 in the family.

The fault grounds include:


If the spouse deliberately defected and was absent from the house for at least 1 year.






If the spouse has committed a crime, for which he was convicted and deprived of his liberty for a period of not less than 2 years.


Ill-treatment by one of the spouses or threat to life.


Strong repeated humiliation on the part of the spouse.

If in Pennsylvania divorce papers the interested party ahve to specify the fault reason, then he or her will be obliged to provide the court with incontrovertible evidence of illegal actions on the part of the spouse.  

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Annulment of the marriage in Pennsylvania

The interested parties can get a divorce in Pennsylvania only on the condition that the marriage is valid. If the marriage was made with violations of state regulations, then it is considered invalid and instead of divorce, the process of annulment takes place. Annulment implies that in fact the marriage never existed. According to the laws of Pennsylvania, the spouse can file a petition to a judge with the request to recognize the marriage as invalid.

To recognize a marriage as invalid, the spouse must comply with at least one of the following statements

  • During the marriage ceremony, one of the spouses was already married and the marriage was not terminated;
  • During the marriage ceremony, one of the partners was a minor and did not have the permission from the parents or the court to marry;
  • During the marriage ceremony, one of the parties was mentally ill, which did not allow him or her to voluntarily marry;
  • One of the parties used fraud against the other party for marriage;
  • One of the parties forced the other party to marry (under duress);
  • The couple did not have sexual intercourse after the marriage;
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Custody of the child in Pennsylvania

Custody of the child

Pensilvanian courts are guided by the best interests of the child when choosing a guardian, and also try to provide the child with the maximum opportunity to spend time with both parents. The court can award both single custody and joint, if it will benefit the child. The court will also study the following circumstances that have developed in the family:

  • The preferences of the child;
  • Grounds for divorce. The court may refuse in custody for the spouses who committed the violence or the crime, depending on the severity of the act, this spouse may also lose hours of visiting the child;
  • The ability of each parent to provide the child with frequent and prolonged contacts with the second parent;
  • Any additional factors that may affect the provision of compulsory conditions for the child's growing up;

Rules for child support in Pennsylvania

Regardless of the type of divorce that is wanted to get and grounds that led to it, after the divorce in Pennsylvania, the spouses are obliged to provide financial support to their underage children who were born in the marriage. Financial support usually continues until the child's 18th birthday, in some cases and even after.
When calculating the amount of support, Pennsylvania courts use the Income Shares Model and is awarded based on state recommendations and must be reviewed every 4 years. The state's recommendations are based on the basic needs of the child, as well as the financial capabilities of the parents. The amount is calculated from the net total income of each parent, as well as the number of underage children in the family. Also, the amount of financial support can be affected by such factors as the availability of medical insurance for the child, the cost of education for the child, the ability of each parent to provide financial support for the basic needs of the child.

Uncontested Pennsylvania divorce with children
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Rules for spousal support in Pennsylvania

Rules for spousal support

The court can oblige one spouse to provide financial support to the second spouse after the divorce, if the court is convinced that it is really necessary.
In order to decide what exactly amount should be paid and during what period of time the court requires studying the following factors:

  • Sources of income and wages of each spouse;
  • Age of each spouse, emotional, physical and mental parameters;
  • The period of marriage;
  • The standard of living to which the spouses are accustomed during the marriage;
  • The availability of contributions from one of the spouses to one's partner in the field of education;
  • Assets and liabilities of the parties;
  • The contribution of each party to the maintenance of home comfort;
  • The formation of parties and the time required for the spouse to receive additional skills so that he or she can find a good job;
  • How exactly was the property divided between the spouses;
  • The influence of the spouse on the career development of his partner;

Regardless of the duration and amount of alimony, they will be terminated if the spouse-recipient again marries. As well as after making a decision on alimony, their amount and period of payment can be changed or even suspended if there are any circumstances from any spouse that the court deems necessary to change its original decision.

Property division in Pennsylvania

Property division

According to state law, common property includes everything that was acquired by a couple during the marriage, passed by giving or inheritance, as well as if the value of the property that was acquired before marriage was increased after the marriage.

In the process of property division, the court draws attention to the following circumstances:

  • How many years the marriage lasted;
  • Whether the spouses had other marriages;
  • Age, professional skills, education, health indicators of each spouse;
  • Sources of income and expenditure;
  • The standard of living that was established during the marriage;
  • The contribution that each spouse made to the increase or loss of value of property;
  • Potential opportunities for career growth;
  • The economic situation of each spouse at the time of divorce;
  • Tax consequences for each spouse after the division of property;

Divorce without a lawyer in Pennsylvania

If divorce is applied in Pennsylvania, then there is no need to use the services of a lawyer. Cases when a divorce is made without the participation of a lawyer are called Pro Se Divorce e.g. "on its own". Depending on which county the spouse lives, the process of divorce in the state of Pennsylvania can vary. If the spouses have come to the agreement of a division of property and custody of children, then it is very convenient to initiate the Pro Se Divorce.

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Mediation support in Pennsylvania

The court can send a couple to the mediators and suspend the decision on divorce for a period of 90 to 120 days, if there is an opportunity for pairing. During this time, the spouses will be required to attend up to 3 consultation sessions.

Divorce forms in Pennsylvania

It is very important to properly understand the state's requirements for divorce, as this will affect on the Pennsylvania divorce documents that the spouse need to fill out. Pennsylvania provides a variety of forms, as well as on its website provides full information on how to organize the process of divorce. It is worth paying attention to this information, since it can be quite useful.

The interested party can meet such popular divorce form documents as "No fault and mutual consent 3301 (c)" and "No fault and two years of separation 3301 (d)". If the spouses both wish to get a divorce, then they fill out the Mutual Consent form.

Uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania

Uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania

If both spouses agree to get a divorce and there are no contradictions between them, then for such cases state legislation suggests getting an accelerated type of divorce. In Pennsylvania, this is called a "no-fault divorce" or a "mutual consent divorce." In order to obtain a mutual consent divorce, the couple must sign a joint petition, which indicates that both spouses are willing to terminate the marriage.

However, if at any time after the beginning of the divorce proceedings, one of the spouses no longer agrees to a divorce, then the couple will pass through the contested 2-year divorce.

In order to obtain a mutual consent divorce in Pennsylvania, the spouses must also meet the following criteria:

  • The marriage is irretrievably broken;
  • Both spouses want a divorce;
  • Both spouses voluntarily wish to sign affidavits that confirm their intention to dissolve the marriage;

After the interested person files a petition for divorce, he or she need to wait 90 days and sue the affidavits (each spouse must do it), which confirms the intention of the spouses to dissolve the marriage. When the court receives all the necessary Pennsylvania divorce papers, a divorce will be granted.

The spouse can apply for a mutual consent divorce not depending on whether he or she has underage children or not.

The request for alimony and property division should be made before the divorce is granted.

How to serve divorce papers in Pennsylvania

Legislation of Pennsylvania requires to serve copies of Pennsylvania divorce papers to the spouse, which was registered in court. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Ask someone who does not participate in the divorce to transfer the papers personally to the spouse or his / her lawyer, provided that the person who delivers the papers reaches the age of 18.
  • Use the services of a sheriff, the spouse can hire a county sheriff to provide other spouse with documents. Then the sheriff will gives a receipt, which has to be register in court.
  • Special mail is a quick and reliable way of serving thespouse, but it's also more expensive.

After the spouse is informed about the beginning of the divorce, the court will set the interested party a waiting period after which hearings about the divorce will begin.

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Filing fees for divorce in Pennsylvania

Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using OnlineDivorce.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.