What is a Mutual Consent Divorce in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, there are two main types of divorce: contested and uncontested divorce. A contested divorce occurs when the two spouses cannot agree on all aspects of their divorce. Outstanding issues could include child custody, asset distribution, alimony, child support, and more. A mutual consent divorce occurs when the parties can agree to all aspects related to the divorce and they file their paperwork together. In this article, the Philadelphia uncontested divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane will discuss mutual consent divorces and how they work in the state of Pennsylvania.
Requirements for a mutual consent divorce
To pursue a mutual consent divorce in Pennsylvania, both parties must agree to the terms of the divorce. They must claim:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken
- Both parties agree to the divorce
- Both parties sign an affidavit that states their consent to the divorce
The role of mediation in a mutual consent divorce
Even when the couple does not initially agree to all elements of the divorce, they may pursue a mutual consent divorce after these issues have been decided and agreed upon in mediation. The role of the mediator is to act as a neutral third party who helps the couple reach an accord. In these cases, the mediator helps the couple hammer out issues such as child custody and visitation, asset distribution, child support, and alimony. If at the end of mediation, the couple agrees to sign the divorce paperwork, they can pursue a mutual consent divorce. But first they must agree on several pressing issues.
At the end of 90 days after the filing of the divorce papers, each spouse can file an affidavit that states that they agree to the divorce. When the court receives the affidavits and other divorce documents, a judge will grant the divorce without holding a formal hearing.
Pros and cons of a mutual consent divorce in Pennsylvania
The biggest pro of an uncontested divorce is that it’s cheaper and faster than a contested or fault-based divorce. Even if disagreements still emerge when filing for your divorce, you can hash those out in mediation which is significantly cheaper and less time-consuming than litigation. Uncontested divorce allows parties to divorce in as few as 90 days after the initial divorce papers have been filed.
The biggest con of an uncontested divorce is that it isn’t appropriate for all situations. In many cases, one spouse may be intimidated by the other spouse. There may be domestic violence within the marriage or one spouse may control all of the finances. In these cases, an uncontested divorce is unlikely to bring the best result for the client. It may be better to pursue a contested divorce.
Talk to a Philadelphia Divorce Attorney Today
The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane represent the interests of divorcing couples in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery & Philadelphia County. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your best path through the divorce process right away.