Filing for a divorce can be a difficult process. There are a lot of particularities and requirements to keep in mind as you go through the process.

And, divorce procedures often vary by state. This article is part of our series on how to file for divorce in different states. Today, we will discuss how to file for a divorce in Pennsylvania.

In this article, we will tell you how exactly you file for a divorce in the state of Pennsylvania. If you live in Pennsylvania and want to know about how to file for a divorce, the information provided below will give you an overview of how to proceed. 

However, it is usually a very good idea to get the help of a divorce attorney. They can help guide you through the process, make sure everything is filed correctly and generally look out for your best interests while you go through this difficult time.

With that said, let’s look at the step of how to file for divorce in PA.

How To File for Divorce In Pennsylvania

1. Meet the Residency Requirements

First, before you file your forms, you want to make sure you meet the residency requirements in Pennsylvania. 

Their requirements state that at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the county that the divorce is filed in for a minimum of six months.

2. Prepare Your Forms

Second, prepare the forms required from this state. In Pennsylvania you need to complete the  “Complaint for Divorce”, and your summons.

3. File for a Divorce

Then, you will file for the divorce in the Court of Common Pleas. When this is filed at least one spouse must be present.

When you file for a divorce, you are required to pay a court fee. The average cost to file for divorce in Pennsylvania is $300-400. But this can vary from county to county.

If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can ask for a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. This petition is where you ask the court to waive your fees. 

4. Serve Your Forms

In Pennsylvania, you can serve your spouse divorce papers directly as long as they agree to accept your deliverance. 

Otherwise, there are two indirect ways in which you can serve your spouse the divorce complaint. These two ways are:

  • Through your sheriff deputy
  • Through a private process service

Timeframe to Serve Your Forms

If your spouse lives in Pennsylvania, you must serve them with the documents within 30 days of the date you filed. If your spouse does not live in Pennsylvania, you have 90 days to serve them with the documents

When you are the defendant, or your spouse filed divorce against you, you ought to respond as quickly as you can to the filing. Otherwise, your spouse can get a default, or uncontested divorce

In response to the filing, you can ask the judge for a specific and desirable outcome. This includes child support, custody, alimony, etc.

What are the Types of Divorce in Pennsylvania?

Before you embark on the filing process, understand that you must have a legal ground for divorce. The three categories of divorce here are divorce by mutual consent, unconsented, and fault-based.

Notably, Pennsylvania is a no-fault divorce state, so you do not have to state your spouse’s fault when filing for a divorce. This can save you a few extra steps in the filing process.

However, fault-based divorces such as adultery may result in alimony paid to the filing spouse.

If the spouse intentionally deserted the other, or lived separately for a year or more, you can file an uncontested divorce. 

We hope that the information provided above clarifies the process of filing for divorce in the state of Pennsylvania.

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