THE FINE PRINT: A DETAILED EXPLANATION OF THE SERVICE WE PROVIDE
LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: In Pennsylvania there are two ways to get a divorce.
NO-FAULT DIVORCE: The first type of divorce in Pennsylvania is the no-fault divorce. This is the type of divorce representation we provide for you as part of our legal service. We provide a low cost, full service divorce for situations where both parties are going to fully cooperate in the process. A no-fault divorce is where there are no allegations of fault by either party and you are simply asking the court to grant you a divorce. There are two kinds of no-fault divorces:
CONSENSUAL NO-FAULT: In a consensual no-fault divorce, both parties must agree to be divorced. The process is as follows:
3. After the complaint is served, we must, by law, wait for a 90 day “cooling off” period to pass. This time is intended by the Pennsylvania legislature to allow the parties time to “reflect’ and be certain that they want a divorce. During this time nothing can be done with the divorce. (Except for a Marriage Settlement Agreement which can be prepared if needed for an additional fee.)
4. Once the 90 days have passed, I then send out to both parties two forms to sign and return to me. These for are the “Affidavit of Consent” and the “Waiver of Notice of Intention.” Without these forms, I cannot finalize the divorce. The first form is a statement in which both parties declare that they consent to the entry of a divorce decree. In the second form, the parties agree that they understand certain rights and that they do not need notice of the intent to file a divorce decree.
5. As soon as I receive these signed forms from both parties, I will prepare all the final paperwork to finalize the divorce. Everything will be sent to the court with a request to grant the divorce and issue a decree. Once this package is sent to the court, we have to wait for the documents to be reviewed. The judge will eventually sign the divorce decree.
6. The court will mail a copy of the divorce decree to the defendant directly in an envelope I provide for them. I will get a certified copy of the decree which I copy for my records and mail out to my client. After that, I can provide my client with legal assistance in getting a name change back to a maiden or previous name for an additional fee.
NON-CONSENSUAL NO-FAULT: In a non-consensual no-fault divorce, the parties must be separated for at least one year. (This is why I call this kind of divorce a “Separation Divorce.”) The defendant in this case does not need to consent to the divorce, however, because of new changes in the law, the defendant must sign a document allowing for the divorce to be finalized in Cameron County. The good thing about this type of divorce is that if both parties agree to the divorce and have been separated for more than one year, than the divorce can be done in about 45 to 60 days. The proceed is as follows:
3. After the complaint is served, I have to wait 20 days to then send the defendant three forms by regular mail. These forms are the “Notice of Intention to Request Entry of a Divorce Decree” and the “Defendant’s Counter-Affidavit” and a “Waiver of Notice” form. The first two forms are required by law to be sent no sooner than 20 days after the complaint was served on the defendant. The “Waiver of Notice” form is the one I would the Defendant sign and return to me in order to speed up the finalization of the divorce. (In the meantime, I can prepare a Marriage Settlement Agreement for those clients that wish to have one drawn up for an additional fee.) The first form (Notice to the Defendant) informs them of an impending divorce decree being entered and an explanation of rights that he or she may have in the divorce action. The second form (Counter-Affidavit) gives the defendant the option to declare whether or not they object to the entry of the divorce decree and whether or not to seek or raise certain economic claims.
4. Once I get the “Waiver of Notice” form signed by Defendant returned to me, I can then prepare all the final paperwork to finalize the divorce and submit it to the court. Everything is sent to the court with a request to grant the divorce and issue a decree. Once this package is sent to the court, we have to wait for the documents to be reviewed and for the judge to eventually sign the divorce decree.
5. The court will mail a copy of the divorce decree to the defendant directly in an envelope I provide them with. I will get a certified copy of the decree which I copy for my records and then mail out to my client. After that, I can provide my client with legal assistance, if applicable, in getting a name change back to a maiden or previous name for an additional fee.
FAULT DIVORCE: The second way to get a divorce is to file a fault divorce. Although it is not used very much anymore, this is where one party accuses the other of causing the marital breakup for reasons such as adultery, bigamy, imprisonment for 2 or more years, confinement for incurable insanity for 18 months, willful desertion for 1 year, cruel and inhuman treatment endangering the life of the spouse and personal indignities. This type of divorce requires a court hearing where testimony is given by the innocent and injured spouse to prove the allegations. We do not provide legal representation for fault divorces. You should seek local counsel if this kind of divorce is what you want.