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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
GENERAL INFORMATION
How does DivorceWriter work? 375
First, complete the basic pre-purchase portion of the online interview. Then, set up your... more
What happens after I receive my DivorceWriter documents? 1917
Just follow the step-by-step instructions included with your DivorceWriter package, which ... more
How do I make changes to my documents after I receive them? 1449
If you want to make changes to any of your documents after receiving them in the mail, you... more
Will DivorceWriter documents work in my state and/or in my situation? 1969
DivorceWriter's goal is to provide self-help divorce documents. However, DivorceWriter is ... more
I finished the online interview. How long will it take to receive my documents? 1981
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may al... more
I want to use DivorceWriter to prepare my own divorce documents. What do I do next? 1864
To get started, click on "Start the Process" above. You will be taken to our online inter... more
Can I use DivorceWriter in my state? 1979
DivorceWriter offers divorce documents for nearly every U.S. state and the District of Col... more
What if I need additional documents that were not included in my DivorceWriter package? 2000
Contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com with the name or form number of the the... more
What is the online interview? 1863
In as little as 10-15 minutes, the online interview allows you to enter the information ne... more
Can you overnight my documents to me so that I can have them right away? 2586
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may a... more
How do I change my password? 1972
To change your password you must first log back into your account using the login section ... more
How do I make changes to my existing DivorceWriter account? 1973
If you already have a DivorceWriter account and need to make changes to your online interv... more
Does DivorceWriter provide documents for annulments? 2165
No. DivorceWriter does not currently provide documents for annulments.
What is included? 3784
The DivorceWriter package includes all forms needed to complete your divorce. These state... more
Will my documents be completed or will I have to fill them out myself when I receive them? 3121
For the most part, your DivorceWriter documents arrive completed with the information that... more
What is DivorceWriter's fax number? 3419
DivorceWriter's fax number is (800) 344 9889.
How do I serve a spouse that lives in a different state or country? 3810
The process for serving a spouse that lives in another state or country depends on the sta... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide property and debts? 3360
Asking the Court for to divide property and debts fairly is standard language in the Divor... more
Do we need to notify the court of any address changes during the divorce? 3405
Any questions concerning the requirements for notifying the court about changes of address... more
Does it matter which spouse files for divorce? 3502
Generally speaking, both spouses should have the same rights in a divorce proceeding regar... more
I need a form that is not available online or in the DivorceWriter's supplemental forms database. How can I find a sample form elsewhere? 3352
Divorce documents are public record, so it is usually possible to obtain a copy of one or ... more
Can I create another divorce in my account?  2712
Yes, you can purchase additional divorces from your Account Summary page. Login to your a... more
What's the difference between an Acknowledgement and a Jurat? 3634
With an Acknowledgement, the notary is certifying that the signer appeared before the nota... more
We were married in a foreign country. Can we divorce in the U.S.?  2635
As long as you meet the residency requirements for filing for divorce in the state where y... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide our property and/or debts? 3361
The Divorce Petitions/Divorce Complaints in most states contain language asking the Court ... more
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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 is considered to be the date of separation in Pennsylvania? 647
The term "separation date" sometimes refers to the date when the spouses stopped living at... more
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.
Do any documents require notarization? 1982
The filing instructions included with your DivorceWriter package will provide additional i... more
What are the signature requirements for the documents I will receive? 899
The state-specific filing procedures included in the DivorceWriter package indicate which ... more
What if my spouse and I don't live in the same state? 1856
As long as one spouse meets the residency requirements for the state where the divorce wil... more
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)
Do I have to divorce in the state where I was married? 1801
No. You can divorce in any state where you or your spouse meet the divorce residency requi... more
Where do I file the divorce documents in Pennsylvania? 1114
In Pennsylvania, divorces are filed in the Common Pleas Court.
Can the wife change her name back during the divorce? 1807
Yes, the wife may restore her name to the name she had before the marriage took place. If ... more
Can my spouse have documents notarized in a different state? 2981
Yes. If your spouse is unable to have documents notarized by a Notary Public in the state... more
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). 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.
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.
How do I determine if my income falls below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines? 3528
Some states require a person who is applying for a filing fee waiver to have an annual inc... more
My documents ask for the "Cause Number" instead of a "Case Number." Is this correct? 3231
Yes. In a number of U.S. states, the Courts use the term "Cause Number" instead of "Case ... more
There was an error on one or more of the documents that I filed with the Clerk. Now that I have fixed the error(s) on the document(s), is there anything else I have to do to it before I file an amended version of the document with the Clerk? 2934
Generally, if an error has been made in a document that was filed with the Clerk, the corr... more
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
What is the difference between child support and spousal support? 338
Spousal support is paid to one spouse by the other for the support and care of the receivi... more
We have agreed that one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. What are some options? 1585
Two common ways for one spouse to receive spousal support payments from the other are (1) ... more
Can we specify how we will claim our child(ren) for income tax purposes? 2086
The DivorceWriter online interview allows you to designate which spouse will claim your mi... more
We have received our documents, but have decided that we do not want any parenting time schedule. Is this possible? 2239
The DivorceWriter online interview, which you completed previously, was designed to accomm... more
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 here.
We have children. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 1802
Yes, you can use DivorceWriter to create your divorce forms even if you have children. Th... more
Do I have to pay income tax on spousal support payments that I receive? 1984
For federal income tax purposes, spousal support is commonly considered taxable income for... more
Additional Information on Child Support 196
Additional information on child support is available at: www.pacode.com
What if my children live in another state and we already have a court order or informal arrangement concerning child support and child custody? 3651
If you want to have the court issue an order as part of the divorce concerning child suppo... more
What is the home state of the children under UCCJEA? 3543
While you are entitled to file for divorce in any state where the residency requirements a... more
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 I receive a portion of my spouse's retirement plan even though his/her retirement is several years away? 46
The most common way for one spouse to secure the right to a portion of the other spouse's ... more
Do we have to list the debts we have agreed to divide? 1989
About 30% of DivorceWriter customers list debts. The debts listed will appear on the sett... more
We want to transfer real estate into only one spouse's name. Do we need a Quit Claim Deed? 311
Generally, if you want to transfer jointly held real estate into the name of only one spou... more
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
Can we divide/list as many items of personal property as we want? 1764
Choose to list all, some, or no property. The customer decides which property, if any, to ... more
Do I need to list the legal description of my real estate? 757
It is generally sufficient to just list the physical address of the property (street, city... more
What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate? 2780
The legal description is usually a one to two paragraph description of land that includes ... more
Why do my DivorceWriter documents say that we do not have life insurance or other property that we actually do have? 2726
Some states require divorcing spouses to provide information on several different types of... more
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
I received my DivorceWriter package today, but I'm not sure I want to file for divorce right away. How how long are these papers good for? 2229
Unsigned divorce documents do not have an expiration date per se. Applicable time periods... more
I can't find my spouse. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 2452
DivorceWriter is designed for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues and who ... more
I am not sure my marriage was legal. Do I even need a divorce? 1970
DivorceWriter is for people who want to end their marriages. If you have any questions reg... more
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 I have an out of state driver's license or no license at all? 995
If the spouse who files for divorce does not have a valid in-state driver's license, it ma... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. Can we still use DivorceWriter? 2234
DivorceWriter documents must be signed by both husband and wife. As long as your spouse is... 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
How do we get documents notarized in a foreign country? 2449
The meaning of the term "notary" varies widely from country to country. To find a Notary ... more
Does DivorceWriter provide gender-neutral documents for divorce in states where same-sex marriage is not specifically legalized, but is recognized when performed in another state? 3230
DivorceWriter's current policy is to gender-neutralize our online interview and documents ... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use? 2745
You may use the address at the facility where your spouse is currently incarcerated. Divo... more
Which states allow same-sex divorce? 3530
Same-sex couples are allowed to divorce in all states that allow gay marriage, which are c... more
How do I end a civil union or domestic partnership? 3446
When recognized in the state, civil unions and/or domestic partnerships can be entered int... more
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Where can I find additional help? 2410
Additional help is available. Click here to find legal help from the American Bar Associat... 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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