Uncontested Divorce: What is It and How Does It Work?
Divorce will always be a stressful experience for both parties. Some couples, however, will want their divorce to end on good terms. This can be due to the fact that the couple has children together or the decision to divorce has been reached mutually by both parties. In Pennsylvania, you can pursue a divorce either on no-fault or fault-based grounds. In cases where the couple wants to end the marriage on no-fault grounds, one option is a mutual consent divorce which in other states, is called an uncontested divorce. In this article, Philadelphia divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane will discuss mutual consent divorces and how they work.
Types of divorce in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, divorces can either be fault-based or no-fault, depending on your circumstances. Fault-based divorces require that one party make allegations against the other party as to why the marriage ended. No-fault divorces, on the other hand, also known as uncontested divorces, typically mean that both parties agree a divorce is necessary. The word, “uncontested”, however, is a bit of a misnomer as parties may dispute elements such as asset distribution, alimony, and more. Two types of no-fault divorce include:
- Mutual consent divorce – This is when both parties agree to the divorce. One party must still file for divorce and so become the “plaintiff”. The other party who responds is considered the defendant.
- One-year separation divorce – When one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, the other spouse has the right to separate from them. At the end of a year, the separated spouse can claim that the marriage is irreparably broken and ask for a divorce. Even if the other spouse doesn’t respond, the court will grant a divorce at this point.
Filing an uncontested divorce in Philadelphia
To file an uncontested divorce, you are required to download and fill out the proper forms. You can find these forms on the Pennsylvania Judicial System website. You’ll have to sign the papers and provide them to the county clerk in the country where you and your spouse live. These forms can be long and complex. If you don’t complete them properly, the clerk will refuse to accept them. When you have an attorney representing you, the attorney handles all of the paperwork on your behalf and files your papers with the county clerk for you.
While you don’t need an attorney to file a mutual consent divorce, the process will go much easier if you have one. Issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, and asset distribution are often too complex to handle on your own. Many believe that by not hiring an attorney, they can make the process go faster and cost less. That is not necessarily the case.
Talk to a Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Today
The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane represent the interests of those seeking divorce in Philadelphia, Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery & Philadelphia County. Call today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your next moves right away.