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It's Over Easy Pennsylvania Online Uncontested Divorce

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How Divorce Works In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law allows couples to either file for a fault divorce or a no fault divorce. In a fault divorce, one spouse will allege some wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse in the divorce complaint, whereas in a no fault divorce, one or both spouses will simply indicate that they would like to dissolve the marriage through no fault of either party.

There are six possible fault grounds and three no-fault grounds that the filing spouse may select from. If one spouse does allege fault, they will be required to prove it in court. The most common form of no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania is called a mutual consent divorce, which is similar to the “irreconcilable differences” options that exist in other states. In cases of mutual consent divorce, both parties must sign an affidavit indicating that they have reached mutual consent to end the marriage.

Divorcing couples may also choose between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania. In a contested divorce, each spouse must hire a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer in order to resolve divorce issues like child support, child custody, alimony, and the division of marital property. Sometimes this means leaving these decisions up to the court, but more often the parties are able to reach a settlement agreement before trial.

In an uncontested divorce case, the parties already agree on these issues when they file for divorce (possibly due to a prior separation agreement), so they are able to simply submit a divorce agreement to the court for approval prior to the issuing of a divorce decree. In an uncontested divorce, it is not necessary for either spouse to hire a divorce attorney, but they may consult with a lawyer if they wish, in order to be educated about Pennsylvania family law and guided through the uncontested divorce process.

Couples undergoing an uncontested Pennsylvania divorce are also eligible for online divorce, in which case they will never need to set foot in a law office. In an online divorce, couples pay a flat rate to a platform like It’s Over Easy, and that platform fills out all of the necessary divorce documents and makes sure that the entire divorce process runs smoothly.

In the Pennsylvania divorce process, the spouse filing the initial divorce papers is called the plaintiff, and the spouse filing the response is known as the defendant. In cases of no-fault divorce, there is not usually any benefit to being the plaintiff or the defendant; they are simply responsible for filing slightly different divorce papers. The plaintiff is responsible for filing the first divorce form -- the complaint. This form commences the divorce action. The plaintiff then has 30 days to serve their spouse with the initial divorce papers, but they may extend that period by filing a form called a praecipe.

Pennsylvania is an Equitable Distribution State

Pennsylvania law follows an equitable distribution model of splitting up marital debt and assets. This means that the court begins with a presumption of a 50/50 split, but then makes a decision based on fairness. The court will look at factors such as who was the primary earner in the marriage, the health and education of both parties, and which spouse will have primary custody of any children of the marriage and then grant each marital asset to one spouse or the other. These decisions are ultimately left up to the discretion of the court, making them highly variable, but an experienced attorney will usually have good insight to predict how things might go.

Pennsylvania's "Cooling Off" Period

In Pennsylvania, a minimum of 90 days must elapse between the initial divorce filing and when the court may issue a divorce decree in a mutual consent divorce. In cases of mutual consent divorce, this “cooling off” period represents the absolute minimum amount of time it can take to end your marriage under the law. In practice, you can expect it to take considerably longer to procure a divorce decree, whether or not you allege fault. If you have hired an attorney and speeding up the divorce proceedings is a priority for you, you should let them know. You may have to be a bit more flexible with regard to the settlement terms, but a good lawyer will be eager to work with your specific needs.

Pennsylvania Grounds for Divorce

In Pennsylvania, there are six possible grounds for a fault divorce: desertion, adultery, cruel and barbarous treatment, bigamy, imprisonment, and indignities. If you choose to allege one of these fault grounds at the time of filing, you will be required to prove it in court as you would in any other civil case. This does not typically affect how debts and assets are divided, but proving fault can have an impact on alimony decisions. Pennsylvania also offers three possible no-fault grounds: separation of a period of at least one year, institutionalization of one spouse, and mutual consent. The latter requires an additional piece of paperwork known as a mutual consent affidavit. This affidavit simply states that both parties wish to end the marriage on the basis of its “irretrievable breakdown.”

Pennsylvania Child Custody

There are two kinds of child custody -- physical and legal. Physical custody deals with where the child is living and which parent is responsible for his or her day-to-day care. Legal custody deals with how important decisions are made for the child regarding topics like healthcare, religion, and education. Physical and legal custody do not have to be split up the same way; parents can choose an arrangement that works for their family, or else a judge will issue a custody order. Pennsylvania does not show favor toward parents of either gender for the purposes of custody determinations, and some form of shared custody will be awarded if both parties are determined to be fit parents.

Pennsylvania Child Support

Pennsylvania calculates child support based on the income of both parents, certain expenses associated with raising the child[ren], and how much time each parent has the child[ren] in their custody. Usually child support ends when the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school (whichever happens later), but the court may extend child support if the child is in college or has special needs.

Pennsylvania Co-Parenting

For couples with kids, one of the most important aspects of negotiating a marital settlement agreement is developing a parenting plan. This plan will outline whether custody and parenting time will be shared equally or one parent will be the child’s primary caregiver. You can visit www.custodyexchange.com for examples of common co-parenting schedules.

Pennsylvania Alimony

Alimony -- sometimes called spousal support or maintenance -- is money that the law requires one spouse to pay the other following the dissolution of their marriage. Alimony is usually paid on a monthly basis, and it is completely separate from child support. In Pennsylvania, there is no set formula for alimony. Instead, the court will make a determination at their discretion, keeping in mind factors like the duration of the marriage, misconduct on the part of either spouse, the age and health of each spouse, and the relative earning capacity of the parties. If divorcing couples prefer, they are also allowed to negotiate alimony on their own.

Pennsylvania Filing Fee

When filing for divorce, the parties will be responsible for paying a filing fee to the county court. The fee amount varies county to county, ranging from about $150 to about $400 for a basic divorce. There may be additional fees if there are factors which complicate the marriage, like if there are children of the marriage or if the either party is seeking injunctive relief of some kind.

Pennsylvania Residency Requirements

In order to get divorced in Pennsylvania, at least one spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months prior to filing. Additionally, the filing spouse must petition for divorce in either the county in which they live, the county in which their spouse lives, or the county in which either party has a place of business.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Pennsylvania Divorce & Coronavirus

Pennsylvania courts are currently operational, subject to social distancing and safety protocols set forth by the governor’s office. Health and safety procedures may vary slightly by county, so visit your local court’s website for more information. There may also be court delays associated with the current public health crisis. If you opt for an online divorce with It's Over Easy, your divorce will most likely be unaffected by COVID-19.

Pennsylvania State Courts

http://www.pacourts.us/

Pennsylvania Court Covid-19 Response

Pennsylvania Court Covid-19 Information