Getting a divorce is often considered a lengthy and highly stressful process for everyone involved. This stereotype has some legitimacy for its existence, but it does not always have to be this way.
Every state provides options to make the process easier and faster. It all boils down to one’s knowledge of family law and required legal procedures. This article offers a guideline on how to get a quick divorce in the state of Pennsylvania.
Proper action comes from knowledge. That is why it is crucial to understand the specifics of the divorce process.
First things first – Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” state. That means a couple can initiate a divorce simply by telling the court that their marriage is irretrievably broken. It is enough for the court to review the case.
However, the state also accepts fault-based divorces. Acceptable fault-based grounds for divorce include:
- Physical and/or psychological abuse of a partner and/or a child;
- Imprisonment for two or more years; and
- Entering marriage while being married to another person.
There are also some residency requirements. At least one of the partners must have lived in the state of Pennsylvania for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
Preparing the Divorce Papers
With the basic information covered, it is now possible to review the methods of getting your hands on divorce papers. Considering that you are looking for a quick way to get a divorce in Pennsylvania, an uncontested divorce would best suit your situation. Uncontested divorce refers to a scenario when both partners negotiate and agree on essential things such as child custody, property division, and spousal support.
Hire a Lawyer
An uncontested divorce does not necessarily require a lawyer, but people often hire one if they have difficulties preparing the divorce documents. By hiring an attorney, you can delegate all the paperwork to a professional. Usually, lawyers are good at what they do, so you can expect your papers to be filled out correctly.
Nonetheless, good lawyers have many clients, meaning that your case will be in line with other cases. So, it may not be the quickest method. Furthermore, attorney’s services are pretty pricey. So it could ramp up the cost of divorce considerably.
The do-it-yourself scenario is becoming pretty popular, as it is an excellent option for people who want to save money and, possibly, time. The main idea is that spouses do all the paperwork themselves without the involvement of a lawyer. However, if the divorce is contested, this option is not applicable.
It is a pretty manageable process as the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania provides an opportunity to download the required documents online! Although it’s important to remember that every county has its own set of required papers, so choose carefully.
While it does sound like an excellent choice, there is an increased possibility of making a mistake. If at least one of the spouses does not have specialized education, the chance of making an error when filling out papers increases considerably. If the documents are filled out incorrectly, the court may reject them, costing time!
Online Divorce Companies
Online divorce companies are not a new thing, but many people aren’t aware of this option. It can be considered a partially DIY divorce process because it allows you to generate your forms for divorce over the Internet.
You go through a questionnaire, and the company prepares divorce papers specific to your county and ready to be filed with the court.
This option has several considerable benefits. First of all, you save time. The papers are generated in as little as two business days, making it the quickest method of paperwork preparation.
Secondly, the price of such services is much lower in comparison to hiring a lawyer.
Typically, these divorce companies also provide detailed step-by-step guides for filing for divorce, meaning that you will be able to proceed with the whole ordeal without complications.
File the Forms
Once the papers are ready, you should make at least two copies and take them to the county clerk’s office. The court registers one copy, and you pay the filing fees. If you cannot afford the fee, it is possible to request a waiver.
Serve the Forms
The next step is to serve the papers to the other spouse. The state of Pennsylvania specifically requires them to be served within 30 days. After the recipient accepts the papers, they must sign an Acceptance of Service form, which is written proof that the documents have been served. A copy of this form must be given to the court.
If partners have minor children, the court may order both parents to attend a specialized parenting class.
After a 90-days waiting period from the filing date, spouses can sign the Affidavit of Consent – a document confirming that both partners agree on the divorce terms. Another document to sign is the Waiver of Notice. Copies of these papers should be sent to the spouse and given to the court after they have been signed.
With all these steps complete, a petitioner files a Final Decree of Divorce and any other county-specific documents requested by the court. The judge reviews the case and signs the Decree. Then, both you and your partner receive certified copies of the documents, and the divorce is officially completed.
The state of Pennsylvania provides more than enough ways to make the divorce process relatively quick. The best scenario for a swift divorce is if both parties have no issues regarding important matters and go for an uncontested divorce. This way, it is possible to save lots of time and money!
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