How to Get a Divorce in Pennsylvania Without a Lawyer

By Christine Funk, J.D.

How to Get a Divorce in Pennsylvania Without a Lawyer

By Christine Funk, J.D.

If you are considering a divorce in Pennsylvania, you can do it with or without a lawyer. However, you will be held to the same standard as attorneys. You must follow both statewide and local rules. There are two types of divorce in Pennsylvania: no fault/ mutual consent 3301(c) and no fault/ applicable time of separation 3301(d).

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The 3301(c) Process

If you and your spouse agree to divorce, as well as on the terms of the divorce, you proceed under 3301(c).

1. Complete and file the following forms.

For a 3301(c) divorce, you must fill out the following forms and file them with your local courthouse. The forms are:

  • Self-Represented Party Entry of Appearance
  • Notice to Defend and Divorce Complaint (Form 1)
  • Praecipe to Reinstate the Complaint (Form 4)
  • Affidavit of Consent of Plaintiff (Form 5a)
  • Affidavit of Consent of Defendant (Form 5b)
  • Waiver of Notice for Plaintiff (Form 6a)
  • Waiver of Notice for Defendant (Form 6b)
  • Notice of Intention to Request Entry of Section 3301(c) Divorce Decree and Counter-Affidavit under 3301(c) (Form 7)
  • Affidavit of Non-Military Service (Form 10)
  • Certificate of Service (Form 11)
  • Praecipe to Transmit Record (Form 12)
  • Divorce Decree (Form 13)
  • Notice of Intention to Resume Prior Surname (Form 15)

2. Contact the court.

Once each of these forms has been filled out as instructed, contact your local courthouse administration to receive further instructions. Different counties have different local rules that must be followed.

The 3301(d) Process

If you and your spouse do not agree to divorce, you proceed under 3301(d).

1. Start the waiting period.

If both parties do not agree to the divorce, there is a waiting period imposed by law. During the waiting period, the couple must be physically separated. This means they must live separate and apart from their spouse during this time. A single night together restarts the clock for the waiting period. For those who separated before December 5, 2016, the waiting period is two years. For those who separated after December 5, 2016, the waiting period is one year before you can file for divorce.

2. Complete and file the following forms.

Once the waiting period has passed, the following forms must be completed in their entirety and filed with the court.

  • Self Represented Party Entry of Appearance
  • Notice to Defend and Divorce Complaint (Form 1)
  • Praecipe to Reinstate the Complaint Instructions (Form 4)
  • Waiver of Notice for Plaintiff (Form 6a)
  • Affidavit under Section 3301(d) of the Divorce Code (Form 8)
  • Notice of Intention to Request Entry of Section 3301(d) Divorce Decree and Counter-Affidavit (Form 9)
  • Affidavit of Non-Military Service (Form 10)
  • Certificate of Service (Form 11)
  • Praecipe to Transmit Record (Form 12)
  • Divorce Decree (Form 13)
  • Notice of Intention to Resume Prior Surname (Form 15)

Once each of these forms has been filled out as instructed, contact your local courthouse administration to receive further instructions. Different counties have different local rules that must be followed.

3. Serve the other party.

For divorces proceeding under the "no fault and applicable time of separation," the other party must be legally served with the divorce papers. This can be done by mail or in person; however, in both cases, there are rules governing who can serve papers and under what circumstances service occurs. Once the other party is properly served, you must file the applicable of the following service forms:

4. Contact the court.

Once each of these forms has been filled out as instructed, contact your local courthouse administration to receive further instructions. Different counties have different local rules that must be followed.

If you are considering divorce in Pennsylvania, the courts provide the paperwork you need in order to address the issues of the marriage. However, it is important to keep in mind individual counties often have their own rules as well.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.