Philadelphia Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
The Pennsylvania divorce process can be complicated, but things are somewhat easier for parties who share a common goal about how to dissolve their marriage. If you are in the position of going through uncontested divorce, the advantages include a quicker time to resolution, lower legal costs, and many others. However, despite the benefits, you cannot lose track of your own rights.
The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane will guide you in reaping the advantages of uncontested divorce, but we are also committed to protecting your interests throughout the process. Please contact us to set up a case evaluation with a Philadelphia uncontested divorce lawyer. We can provide additional details for your case, and some background on the laws should be informative.
Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery & Philadelphia County
Ending a marriage doesn’t have to be a fight, especially if you and your spouse agree on the decision to divorce. Additionally, however, you must also come to an agreement on how to handle the financial issues in your divorce, such as the division of marital property and the payment (or not) of spousal support. A caring and dedicated family law attorney can provide invaluable help to make sure this process concludes swiftly and satisfactorily. Learn more below about how an uncontested divorce works in Pennsylvania and contact the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane for help with a Philadelphia uncontested divorce.
Issues Parties Can Resolve in Agreed Divorce
Almost any matter that you would address in a disputed divorce case can be worked out by agreement, and Pennsylvania laws actually encourage the parties to do so. In an uncontested divorce, couples can negotiate a compromise on:
- Asset and debt division, including what items are part of the marital estate and how to distribute them between the parties;
- The type, duration, and amount of alimony pendente lite and spousal support; and,
- Attorneys’ fees and legal costs.
In addition, parties are encouraged to agree on child custody, visitation, and support, but there are some caveats. Any agreed-upon parenting plan for decision-making and parenting time must serve the child’s best interests, and the judge will review it carefully to ensure the arrangement complies with the law. Child support is governed by statutory guidelines, but parents can always agree to a higher amount.
Pennsylvania Uncontested Divorce Process
If you and your spouse agree on all the outstanding issues in your divorce, you can obtain a divorce based on mutual consent. Issues in your divorce which you must agree on may include:
- Property Division
- Spousal Support
- Child Custody
- Child Support
This form of no-fault divorce does not require a one-year separation like other no-fault divorces, but you still must meet the six-month residency requirement and prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken. You’ll settle all issues out of court and won’t have to go to court for your divorce. Instead, you and your spouse can draft and sign off on a Property Settlement Agreement that divides your marital property and arranges for any spousal support. You can also address child custody and support in this agreement, or deal with those issues separately at another time.
Divorcing couples negotiate Property Settlement Agreements privately amongst themselves or through a more formal process, such as mediation. In either setting, the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane can help you iron out the details and keep the process from getting off track or going off the rails. Often parties agree to divorce by mutual consent and enter negotiations with the best of intentions, but disputes arise, tensions mount, and things fall apart. Our experienced Philadelphia divorce lawyer offers practical advice and legal knowledge to help you create an effective and lasting agreement that meets your needs and protects your rights.
Reasons You Still Need a Pennsylvania Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
Despite the fact that spouses have common goals and get along, you will still need a lawyer – your OWN lawyer – when working through agreed-upon divorce. You cannot protect your rights if you do not know what they are, and signing your assent to an agreement could have a profound effect on your interests post-divorce.
The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane will advocate on your behalf and make your needs a priority during negotiations on uncontested divorce, and we are ready to represent you during mediation.
How does uncontested divorce work?
The process largely takes place outside the courtroom, though your lawyer will have to appear to enter proper orders after reaching an agreement. Some additional points should help you understand the proceedings:
Parties in an uncontested case will usually state the grounds for divorce as mutual consent. Doing so eliminates the one-year separation period that would apply if you were relying on fault-based grounds or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Despite elimination of the separation period, you must still meet the residency requirement of living in Pennsylvania at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
Most uncontested divorces start with informal discussions between the parties, with support from their respective lawyers. Mediation is also useful as an option for resolving divorce issues, as help from a mediation professional can often get the parties closer to compromise.
Any issues you do not resolve through uncontested divorce must go before a judge. However, when you reduce the number of disputes, a contested hearing might only be necessary with a few issues.
How long does an uncontested divorce take?
Once you file for a divorce by mutual consent, there is a 90-day waiting period or cooling off period before the divorce will be finalized. This window gives time for the couple to be sure they want to divorce and/or seek marriage counseling if they choose. Also, it takes the court system time to process forms and paperwork and for the judge to review all the documents before issuing a decree, so expect the entire process to take around four months total from the time the divorce petition is filed.
There is no 90-day waiting period for a divorce based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage after a one-year separation. It can still take a month or more to process the forms and get a decree, and considerably longer if any contested matters need to be litigated in court.
Can we share an attorney if we agree to a divorce by mutual consent?
An uncontested divorce settles important rights between you and your spouse and may involve the waiver of valuable rights, like the ability to receive spousal support. Once granted, the divorce decree is final and last forever. Each party should, therefore, have their own attorney to look out for their interests. If using one attorney to draft the Settlement Agreement, each party should also take the agreement to another attorney to review it independently. If each party is using their own attorney, choose a lawyer who is experienced in uncontested divorces and will work to negotiate a satisfactory conclusion and not make the process more difficult or litigious.
Contact a Philadelphia Uncontested Divorce Lawyer to Learn More
It might seem like the process is easier when you and your soon-to-be-ex get along, but it is important to prioritize your interests and rights as a parent. For additional details on the process, please contact the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane to schedule a consultation. After reviewing your situation, a Philadelphia uncontested divorce lawyer can explain what to expect.