Uncontested Divorce in Pennsylvania

Couple experiencing an uncontested divorce awaiting their attorney

Divorce is never easy. However, it doesn’t always have to involve a costly and protracted battle in the courtroom. An uncontested divorce can allow spouses to part ways with less emotional stress and monetary expense. It can also be faster, more amicable, and allow the parties to remain in control of the outcome of their case.

There are many factors to consider when deciding if your divorce can be a truly uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania. Berman & Associates offers compassionate counsel and reliable representation for Pennsylvania couples and families. We welcome you to contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation and help you select the divorce process that fits your needs.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

In Pennsylvania, an uncontested divorce is when spouses believe their marriage is “irretrievably broken,” cannot be repaired, and they have decided to amicably end the marriage. In these cases, both parties agree to part ways with little disagreement regarding financial or divorce-related issues that must be decided by a judge — and there are no allegations of fault that must be adjudicated.

Although, aspects and issues in an uncontested divorce are agreed upon outside of court, it is recommended to hire an attorney to assist you with the process to help you achieve a fair and favorable outcome. In some cases, an uncontested divorce can become contested when parties do not agree on one or more of the issues and it is important to have a legal representative to help guide you to find a resolution.

Benefits of this Type of Divorce

The same issues must be decided in an uncontested divorce as in a contested divorce. However, the primary difference is that in an uncontested divorce, the spouses are able to reach a settlement agreement between themselves concerning all the issues. Attorney representation during this agreement process can help spouses make decisions that are tailored to the needs of their family and specific circumstances.

Importantly, there are a number of other advantages that can come with an uncontested divorce, including the following:

  • Faster than a contested divorce
  • Typically more cost-effective
  • Spouses have more control over their case
  • The outcome is more predictable
  • Spouses can maintain an amicable relationship
  • Can be more beneficial for spouses with children
  • Spouses can divorce more privately

Just remember, an uncontested divorce may not be right for every situation. In cases involving abuse, domestic violence, or financial disparity, an uncontested divorce can potentially give an unfair advantage to the wrongdoer. It’s best to discuss the specific facts of your case with an experienced divorce attorney to determine whether the uncontested process is right for you.

What is the Process for an Uncontested Divorce?

The legal process to begin an uncontested divorce is the same as the procedure for a contested divorce. The first step is filing a Notice to Defend and Divorce Complaint with the court, which provides your spouse with notice that you’ve filed for divorce and outlines their rights in the divorce proceedings.

After you have filed the divorce papers with the court, you must have them served to your spouse. This is called “service of process.” When divorces are uncontested, it is usually easiest to have the spouse who is receiving the papers sign an “Acceptance of Service” where they acknowledge receipt. Otherwise, you can arrange to have the divorce papers delivered by a process server or any adult who is not a party to the case. Service must be completed within 30 days of filing the Complaint and an affidavit stating that service was made must be filed with the court.

In Pennsylvania, a judge may not sign the final judgment in an uncontested divorce until 90 or more days have passed since the filing of the Complaint. During this “waiting period,” you can gather all the paperwork that needs to be filed and work toward a settlement agreement. In some cases, mediation can be useful to assist the parties in reaching a resolution. If all collateral matters have not been agreed upon, negotiations with the assistance of an attorney can help ensure a fair outcome. Once the waiting period is over, each spouse must file an affidavit asserting that the marriage is irretrievably broken, requesting the court to grant the divorce.

Do You Need A Uncontested Divorce Attorney in Pennsylvania?

While there is not a requirement that a party must retain an attorney for their divorce case, having counsel by your side throughout this process is crucial to avoid any potential pitfalls. In addition to providing essential legal guidance, they can assist you with filing paperwork, drafting a fair settlement agreement, and helping to resolve any disputes that might arise. One of the advantages of having a lawyer from the beginning of the divorce process is that you can be guided through the very strict technical processes required by the court rules and not be required to start over.

Significantly, even in an uncontested divorce, there are still important matters that must be negotiated. A divorce attorney can ensure your legal rights are protected when it comes to dividing marital property, allocating debt, deciding child custody matters, and determining support. Whether you and your spouse think you agree on everything, there can still be disagreements regarding how certain property should be divided — including complex assets like retirement accounts or stock portfolios.

Additionally, trying to complete your own divorce can result in mistakes that lead to possible issues later. For instance, not understanding child support or your entitlement to alimony before you sign the divorce papers can be economically detrimental. A knowledgeable divorce attorney can discuss any future financial or legal ramifications and help to safeguard your interests.

Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Uncontested Divorce Attorney

Berman & Associates offers compassionate counsel and reliable representation for those facing divorce in Pennsylvania. Whether you are going through an uncontested divorce or you’re facing a high-conflict divorce matter, we work diligently to achieve positive results in your case. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties, as well as in the City of Philadelphia. We welcome you to contact us to schedule a consultation.

Categories: Divorce, Family Law