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How uncontested divorce works in Pennsylvania

You or your spouse are ready to end your marriage. You do not want to fight things out in a Pennsylvania court. You both have already agreed on how you will divide assets and -- if applicable -- how you will split time with your children. This leaves you wondering if you have to go through the typical divorce process. Thankfully, the answer is no.

If you find yourself in the situation described above, an uncontested divorce may be right for you. How exactly does this type of marital dissolution process work?

Uncontested divorce starts off the same as a contested divorce

Marriage dissolution cases all start with the same thing: the filing of the divorce complaint. This complaint has to be served to the other party within 30 days of the filing -- unless the other party lives out of state, then one has 90 days to serve it. Failure to serve the complaint in the specified time frame will require a formal request to reinstate it. There are two ways to have a complaint served to one's spouse:

  • By mail
  • By hand

If delivered by hand, you cannot be the one to do it. Another adult has to do it, and that person must sign an Affidavit of Service form specifying his or her role in the matter.

How to file

After a divorce complaint is officially served, both parties must wait a total of 90 days before they can file consent divorce forms. You only have 30 days to file these forms once signed, so it is best to file at your earliest convenience.

Following the filing of the Affidavit of Consent, you and your spouse need to sign an intention or waiver notice. Legal counsel can provide information on the difference between these two forms and how they can affect your divorce process.

After you submit everything, your divorce decree will eventually arrive by mail if the court needs no further information from you or your spouse.

Mistakes can delay the process

With all the forms required for an uncontested divorce and the specific timelines that must be adhered to, it is easy to make mistakes along the way. Any mistakes made can delay the process, which of course you want to avoid. If you want to make sure your uncontested divorce filing is complete and error free, it is okay to ask questions and seek assistance with the filing process.

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Bethlehem, PA 18018

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