Can You Write Your Own Divorce and Just Have It Notorized in the State of Pennsylvania?

By Beverly Bird

Most states -- including Pennsylvania -- go out of their way to allow spouses to divorce according to their own terms. You're encouraged to reach a settlement agreement and submit it to a judge, as this avoids the need for trial. But your agreement isn't a court order. It's just a contract that dictates the terms under which you and your spouse will end your marriage. Even if you notarize it, it doesn't finalize your divorce.

Pennsylvania Divorce Options

Pennsylvania offers four options for legally ending your marriage. One is rarely used, because it requires that your spouse be institutionalized in a mental hospital. You can file on fault grounds, and if you do, you must prove to the court that one spouse is to blame for the divorce. You can wait out a two-year separation period and file for a no-fault divorce, or you and your spouse can mutually agree to the divorce and file an affidavit, attesting to this. If you elect this option, you can be divorced in 90 days if you submit a signed and notarized settlement agreement to the court.

Submitting Your Agreement

Pennsylvania recognizes two types of settlement documents: marital agreements and property agreements. The latter only deals with financial issues. If you have children, you'll need a comprehensive marital agreement. Both agreements are enforceable as contracts, but they don't grant you a divorce. You can only be officially divorced when you file a petition to end your marriage, then resolve property and custody issues either by trial or agreement. When you submit an agreement to the court, a judge incorporates its terms into a divorce decree.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Divorce in PA After Two Years When a Spouse Does Not Agree on Settlement
 

References

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Wills in Pennsylvania

Title 20, Sections 2501 through 3132, of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Statutes lists the state’s laws regarding wills. In some respects, they are more lenient than statutes in other states, but if you write your own will, it may still be prudent to have an attorney review the finished product to ensure it accomplishes everything you want and that your county’s Register of Wills, who accepts and approves wills after death, will not declare it invalid because of some technical shortcoming.

Amending a Divorce Agreement in Tennessee

Tennessee refers to divorce agreements as marital dissolution agreements and after you sign one, lawyers in the state will most likely tell you it’s a done deal. After it becomes part of your decree and a judge signs the decree, you’ll have a very difficult time changing it. However, a small window of opportunity exists when you can take steps to amend or revoke it.

How to File For a Non-Contested, No Children Divorce in Alabama

Non-contested divorce, commonly referred to as an uncontested divorce, does not depend on whether you have children. However, if you don’t have children, this can expedite the process. In Alabama, an uncontested divorce means you and your spouse agree on how to settle all issues to end your marriage. If you don’t have children, custody terms and child support are two less things you have to negotiate.

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