How to Get a Divorce in Pennsylvania Without a Lawyer

By Beverly Bird

Pennsylvania doesn’t require you to hire a lawyer to get a divorce, and the state makes it relatively easy for you to handle your matter yourself. However, you might benefit from at least consulting with an attorney before you draw up a divorce agreement. Pennsylvania law does not allow courthouse staff to answer legal questions for you, so do your research ahead of time.

Step 1

Draw up a complaint for divorce. You can get a form from the court or online. Pennsylvania offers a divorce ground of “mutual consent.” You can use this if you’re reasonably sure you and your spouse will be able to reach a settlement without involving the court.

Step 2

File an original and two copies of your complaint with the prothonotary in the court of common pleas in the county where either you or your spouse is currently living. Except in Philadelphia County, you will also need to file a civil court cover letter. You can get this from the prothonotary's office and fill it out at the time you file.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Serve your spouse with a copy of your complaint. Pennsylvania requires official service even if you’re filing by mutual consent. If you don’t do this within 30 days, you’ll have to re-file your complaint and start all over again. Pennsylvania allows you to send your complaint to your spouse by certified mail.

Step 4

Meet with your spouse to iron out the details of your divorce agreement. Philadelphia County offers a form you can complete. Otherwise, you can simply type the agreement yourself. Explain how you’re going to divide your property and your debts, and detail your custody and visitation arrangement.

Step 5

Use Pennsylvania’s Support Guideline Computation, available either online or at your courthouse, to figure out how much child support is payable. Include this number and a provision for child support in your written agreement.

Step 6

Wait Pennsylvania’s statutory 90-day period for a divorce by mutual consent. When the time expires, file your remaining paperwork with the court. This includes the original and two copies of your settlement agreement, an affidavit of consent, a waiver of notice of intention to request entry of a divorce decree, a praecipe to transmit record, a praecipe of service and a state statistical form. All of these forms should be available through the prothonotary’s office at your courthouse.

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

Related articles

How to Get a Quick Divorce in New York

New York does not have a reputation for speedy divorces. If your spouse contests your divorce, the process can easily drag on for more than a year. However, if he does not contest it, you might be divorced in a matter of months, especially if you work together to finalize your marriage. New York’s divorce laws are somewhat complex, but if you understand their nuances, you can hasten the process.

How to File for Divorce in Maryland

The most difficult aspect of filing for divorce in Maryland is getting your grounds and residency requirements straight. The laws regarding both overlap a bit. Once you determine them, however, the rest of the filing process is relatively straightforward.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Missouri?

The duration of a divorce almost always depends on how much you want to fight. If you and your spouse agree on how to resolve issues between you, the process can move relatively quickly. If you can’t agree and need the court to make decisions for you, the process will draw out. Missouri’s Supreme Court likes to see divorces resolved within eight months, but that’s not an iron-clad law. Depending on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, it can take anywhere from one month to two years or more.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to File Your Own Divorce Papers in Tennessee

In order to file for divorce in Tennessee, you must draw up the necessary papers, file them with a court clerk, have ...

How to Do Your Own Divorce in Ohio

Either spouse may legally file for divorce in the state of Ohio. If your divorce is uncontested or no-fault, you can ...

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. ...

How to Separate in a Marriage

Divorce isn't for everyone--at least not immediately. For any number of reasons, spouses might want to live separately ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED