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Pennsylvania Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Pennsylvania divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
STATE PROCEDURES
How much is the filing fee in Pennsylvania? 1233
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price.

The divorce filing fee varies from county to county, but typically ranges from $125.00 to $350.00 in Pennsylvania.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in Pennsylvania? 1237
Service is completed by mailing the divorce documents to your spouse by Certified Mail with a return-receipt requested.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in Pennsylvania? 1232
1. Complete the DivorceWriter interview, providing accurate information that meets with the agreement you and your spouse have reached.

2. One spouse files the necessary forms and serves them on the non-filing spouse, either by certified mail with a return-receipt requested or by hiring a Sheriff or private process server

3.Both spouses sign their own Affidavit of Consent and file them with the Clerk/Prothonotary.

4. There is a 90-day waiting period from the date your spouse is served, after which you should receive the signed divorce decree in the mail from the Court finalizing your divorce.
I have already filed for divorce in Pennsylvania. Why do I have to wait 90 days before having our Affidavits of Consent notarized? 2515
Both Plaintiff and Defendant must wait ninety (90) days from the date the Complaint in Divorce was served on Defendant before signing their own Affidavit of Consent and Waiver of Notice of Intention to Request Entry of a Divorce Decree in front of a Notary Public. In calculating the 90 days, count the day after Defendant signed for the documents, using the date listed on the green return-receipt, as the first day.

In addition, the Affidavits of Consent and Waivers of Notice of Intention to Request Entry of a Divorce Decree of both Plaintiff and Defendant must be filed with the Clerk within thirty (30) days from the date the first spouse signed his or her Affidavit.

Note: While state law sets forth the aforementioned 90-day waiting period before signing as well as the requirement that, once signed, the documents must be filed within 30 days, it does not set forth a limit after the 90-day waiting period within which the documents must be signed. Thus, you are not required to sign the documents on the 90th day nor even within any set period after the 90th day. More information on the 90-day waiting period prior to signing the Affidavit of Consent in front of a Notary Public is available at Pa. Code Rule 1920.42.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 1236
No. Generally, if both spouses are in agreement on all matters concerning the division of property and debts as well as any minor or dependent children, a hearing is not necessary to obtain a divorce in Pennsylvania.
In which county can I file my divorce? 2581
The term "venue" refers to the county where the divorce can be properly filed. Most commonly, divorces in Pennsylvania are filed in the county where the Defendant or the Plaintiff lives. Pa. Rule 1920.2 states that divorces in Pennsylvania may be filed only in the county:
  1. In which the plaintiff or the defendant resides, or
  2. Upon which the parties have agreed either (i) in a writing which shall be attached to the complaint or (ii) by participating in the proceeding.
If you have any questions concerning the proper venue for your case, you should contact an attorney licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania.
What documents are included in the self-prepared Pennsylvania DivorceWriter package? 1234
All standard Pennsylvania DivorceWriter packages, EXCEPT Philadelphia County, include:

  • Notice to Defend and Claim Rights
  • Complaint in Divorce
  • Affidavit
  • Court of Common Pleas Intake
  • Plaintiff’s Domestic Relations Income and Expense Statement
  • Defendant’s Domestic Relations Income and Expense Statement
  • Notice to File Social Security Numbers
  • Marital Property Settlement Agreement
  • Plaintiff's Acknowledgment
  • Defendant’s Acknowledgment
  • Plaintiff’s Affidavit of Consent/Consent Waiver
  • Defendant’s Affidavit of Consent/Consent Waiver
  • Praecipe to Transmit Record
  • Decree of Divorce
  • Notice of Intention to Retake Prior Name (only if wife intends to retake a former last name)

Plus, customers with children will also receive:
  • Support Guideline Computations
What are the Pennsylvania residency requirements for filing for divorce? 1231
You may file for divorce in Pennsylvania if you or your spouse have lived in Pennsylvania for at least six (6) months immediately before filing for divorce.
What documents are included in the self-prepared Philadelphia DivorceWriter package? 1235
The standard Philadelphia County DivorceWriter package includes:
  • Domestic Relations Information Sheet (1 copy)
  • Complaint in Divorce (3 copies)
  • Marital Property Settlement Agreement(3 copies)
  • Plaintiff’s Acknowledgment (3 copies)
  • Defendant’s Acknowledgment (3 copies)
  • Waiver of Notice of Intention to Request Entry of Divorce Under Sec. 3301(c) of the Divorce Code (3 copies)
  • Notice of Intention to Request Entry of Sec. 3301(c) Divorce Decree (3 copies)
  • Praecipe to Transmit Record (3 copies)
  • Notice of Intention to Retake Prior Name (if one party is seeking to have a former name restored) (3 copies)


Additionally, customers with dependent children will also receive:
  • Support Guideline Computations-Child Support(3 copies)
Where do I file the divorce documents in Pennsylvania? 1114
In Pennsylvania, divorces are filed in the Common Pleas Court.
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce? 3267
In a Pennsylvania mutual consent divorce, where both spouses are working together and are in agreement on all issues, they can submit the documents to finalize the divorce ninety (90) days after the Complaint in Divorce is served on Defendant. Then, it generally takes fourteen (14) days from the date the final docs are submitted to receive the Final Decree of Divorce signed by the Judge in the mail.
What is the Education Program for Separated Parents? 2839
The Education Program for Separated Parents is a four-hour seminar to help parents understand a child's needs in relation to divorce and separation. The program is mandated by order of court for all actions in custody and divorce with children under the age of 18 years or such other cases as the court directs in the for Perry, Mifflin, and Juniata Counties. Education Program for Separated Parents, Mastrofski Court and Educational Consulting, P.O. Box 615, State College, PA 16804
I received a court notice indicating that I have failed to raise ancillary claims by the pleadings precluding incorporation. What options do I have? 3546
The term "incorporation" refers to the Property Settlement Agreement becoming part of, or incorporated into, the Final Divorce Decree. If the court advises that a failure to raise an ancillary claim by the pleadings has precluded incorporation, one of the three options set forth below should result in the court finalizing the divorce. The first two options are methods for getting the court to incorporate the Property Settlement Agreement. The third, and generally easiest option, asks the court to finalize the divorce without incorporation.
  1. Option 1: Plaintiff files an Amended Complaint that specifically requests incorporation as a count in the Complaint. (Note: For more information on filing an amended document, enter those search terms in the Help Center search box above. This should retrieve additional help topics.) If this option is chosen, Plaintiff would file the Amended Complaint, re-serve Defendant with a copy of the Amended Complaint by following the steps for serving Defendant in the DivorceWriter filing procedures, and then both parties would sign new Affidavits of Consent after 90 days pass from service of the Amended Complaint. The parties must also sign and file a Stipulation to Incoporate the Property Settlement Agreement into Final Decree that expressly states their intention to incorporate. DivorceWriter will provide this document at no additional charge;
    OR
  2. Option 2: Either party may file a separate Petition that requests incorporation of the Settlement Agreement, and then whichever spouse files that Petition must serve it on the other spouse, although the 90-day waiting period will not be required. (Note: DivorceWriter does not supply a separate Petition requesting incorporation.) The parties must also sign and file a Stipulation to Incoporate the Property Settlement Agreement into Final Decree that expressly states their intention to incorporate. DivorceWriter will provide this document at no additional charge.;
    OR
  3. Option 3:Plaintiff removes the paragraph at the end of the Settlement Agreement requesting incorporation and retitles the document Amended Property Settlement Agreement. Both spouses sign the amended version of that document as well as signing new Plaintiff and Defendant Acknowledgments. Plaintiff removes the paragraph requesting incorporation at the end of the Praecipe to Transmit Record and retitles the document Amended Praecipe to Transmit Record. Plaintiff signs the amended version of that document. Both spouses sign a Praecipe to Withdraw the Request for Incorporation. Attach one copy of the Praecipe to Withdraw the Request for Incorporation to the front of each Property Settlement Agreement. File the original and two (2) copies of all three documents with the Court Clerk/Prothonotary. The Property Settlement Agreement will still be enforceable in Court, but will not be incorporated into the Final Decree of Divorce. DivorceWriter will provide a Praecipe to Withdraw the Request for Incorporation at no additional charge. It is possible that the court may require a brief hearing on the Praecipe to Withdraw the Request for Incorporation before granting the withdrawal.
I heard that my spouse and I must be separated for two years in order to get a divorce in Pennsylvania. Is that correct? 3491
No. To obtain a divorce in Pennsylvania, you may file for divorce on the grounds of 3301(c), which is for couples who both agree to the divorce, or 3301(d), which is for couples who have been separated for two years, regardless of whether both spouses agree to the divorce. DivorceWriter is designed for customers who wish to seek a divorce on the grounds of mutual consent under 231 Pa. Code 3301(c). There is no separation requirement for 3301(c) divorce. The step-by-step filing procedures included in your DivorceWriter package provides detailed information on how long it takes to obtain a divorce on the grounds of a mutual consent 3301(c) divorce.
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in Pennsylvania? 3837
No. To obtain a divorce in Pennsylvania, you may file for divorce on the grounds of 3301(c), which is for couples who both agree to the divorce, or 3301(d), which is for couples who have been separated for two years, regardless of whether both spouses agree to the divorce. DivorceWriter is designed for customers who wish to seek a divorce on the grounds of mutual consent under 231 Pa. Code 3301(c). There is no separation requirement for 3301(c) divorce. The step-by-step filing procedures included in your DivorceWriter package provides detailed information on how long it takes to obtain a divorce on the grounds of a mutual consent 3301(c) divorce.

The term "separation date" sometimes refers to the date when the spouses stopped living at the same residence. However, in instances where the spouses continue to live at the same residence, the separation date may refer to the date that the spouses decided to end their marriage, which may be today's date if the decision was made today.
What is the no-fault grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania? 3266
DivorceWriter is designed for customers who wish to seek a divorce on the grounds of mutual consent under 231 Pa. Code 3301(c).
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
How is child support calculated in Pennsylvania? 193
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

Additional information on the calculation of child support can be found at: www.pacode.com
Can child support be modified after a divorce is finalized? 195
Parents can petition the court for a review and modification of their child support order at any time that they feel there is a change in circumstance. Some factors that may change a child support order are:
  • Income of either parent significantly increases or decreases.
  • The child now has significant or continuing medical expenses.
  • Daycare and/or medical insurance changes.
  • The parents are now living together.
  • The child receiving support is 18 years of age and is not attending high school.
  • The child starts living with the noncustodial parent or someone other than the custodial parent/plaintiff.


Information on the child support modification process in Pennsylvania is available
Additional Information on Child Support 196
Additional information on child support is available at: www.pacode.com
I listed the child care expenses in the online interview, but don't see them in the Child Support Worksheet I received. Are they included in the child support calculation?  2979
Yes. The Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines set forth the amount of support which a spouse or parent should pay on the basis of the net monthly income of both spouses and the number of persons being supported. Any child care expenses listed in the DivorceWriter online interview are applied to the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines formula and the result obtained from that formula is then listed on Line 14a of the Child Support Worksheet. Only the amount of child support to be paid by the parent paying support is actually included in the child support portion of the Marital Settlement Agreement.

If you have additional questions on the calculation of child support in Pennsylvania, you may wish to consult the Pennsylvania Code.
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PROPERTY AND DEBTS
Can we customize our documents to fit our plans for our real estate? 597
The DivorceWriter online interview allows customers to list not only the street address, c... more
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
What if one spouse is living in a foreign country? 733
If your spouse is able to receive documents in the mail and is willing to sign and return ... more
What if one spouse is in the military? 803
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in t... more
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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