It’s true; there are ways to get a cheap divorce in Pennsylvania. Various companies provide legitimate, rapid, and seemingly affordable solutions to prepare you for the complex legal filing process.
If you opt-in for a simple, uncontested, online divorce, there are few meetings required, and you must complete the paperwork on your computer or smartphone.
However, you must remember that when your divorce is filed and finalized, nothing usually can change, and you are stuck with the terms in the document. Divorce is a complex matter involving your housing, assets, alimony, child support, visitation, and much more.
The Pennsylvania courts refer to an uncontested divorce as a “no-fault divorce,” consensual no-fault divorce, or mutual consent divorce. If you attempt this legal process yourself, even a mutual consent divorce is complex and involves a lot of legal paperwork you are unfamiliar with.
In a mutual consent divorce, you and your spouse must agree to all the terms of your divorce. You must sign legal documents stating that you agree, and if at any point you or your spouse don’t agree on even a minor issue, you will need to start the process (and paperwork) all over again.
Five common steps are mandatory for filing an uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania, they are:
- The divorce application – Here, you create and file the complaint for your divorce.
- Your spouse must be legally served the divorce papers, and proof of service must be obtained.
- You must create consents and other vital documents.
- If you and your spouse are not in agreement on any matter, regardless of how small, and still wish to pursue an uncontested divorce, you will usually seek mediation.
- Final decree – After all the paperwork is served, agreed on, filed, and more, the court will finalize your divorce with official divorce order documentation.
This process may seem to save you money, but it will take a lot of your time and cause you and your family stress, emotional upheaval, and money. If you make an error, you start over. Also, if you miss anything, it could cost more to fix the issue than if your divorce were done by a professional in the first place.
Is It Legally “Risky” To Try To Get a Cheap Divorce?
The simple and rational answer is, yes, it is.
Recently, many people have chosen to try “do-it-yourself divorce kits to legally end their marriages. These quick and seemingly “cheap” kits may appear attractive, especially since they promise an “easy” out of your marriage.
However, many who have tried these kits find that they are far more trouble than they are worth. After all the costs and fees, they are far from significantly cheaper than hiring an experienced divorce lawyer.
The finality, complexity, and stress of a divorce kit should make you consider consulting with a Pennsylvania family law team. They will know the right questions to ask, and you can move on confidently.
If I Do the Work Myself, Am I Giving My Spouse an Advantage?
In most Pennsylvania divorces, at least one of the spouses has their family lawyer advising them. If you don’t have a divorce lawyer, and your spouse does, you will undoubtedly be at a legal disadvantage. Your spouse’s lawyer will use your ignorance of the rules and regulations of divorce law to your spouse’s advantage every chance that arises.
You can assume that your spouse’s attorney has a much better understanding of court procedures than someone without legal training could not be expected to possess. For example, your spouse’s lawyer could retrieve evidence excluded from court, which may lead you, without a divorce lawyer, to receive a diminished share of your marital estate.
You could surmise that not having an experienced Pennsylvania divorce lawyer could cost you much more than you’ve saved by filing yourself!
Another Important Reason for Having Your Own Divorce Lawyer
One of the most important reasons for not attempting “do-it-yourself divorces” is that the paperwork filed (and provided online) usually fails to address Pennsylvania’s unique divorce procedures. This is relatively easy to understand, as these “divorce kits” are not usually compiled by a lawyer and very rarely by a Pennsylvania lawyer.
All divorce rules and regulations differ from state to state, and this “one size fits all” divorce paperwork commonly never adequately addresses family law in Pennsylvania.
Even more valid in Pennsylvania is that the laws and procedures are different in each of the state’s 67 counties! You must remember that if the proper state and local county rules and guidelines for getting a divorce are not followed, your divorce will not be granted.
The county clerk’s office staff will inform you that your filing is incorrect but cannot instruct you on how to fix the problems. So, you’re on your own to figure out what is wrong and how to correct it!
When your divorce lawyer explains their fees, it is a “total” fee, and all the courts’ fees, etc., are included in the amount. Your local divorce lawyer will know all the pertinent information to obtain your divorce on your terms.
I Am Getting a Divorce in Pennsylvania; How Should I Proceed?
First, consult your family law divorce lawyer, and obtain the peace of mind that their expertise and experience will provide.
There are many ways to save time and money on your divorce in Pennsylvania than relying on a risky, “one size fits all” divorce package. Consult with a divorce lawyer with a proven history who will offer you cost-effective and efficient divorce options. By doing so, you can finalize your divorce within your budget, without the financial and emotional stress of attempting this challenging legal process yourself.