Couples considering divorce in Lancaster County often struggle to find the quickest and cheapest way to end their marriage. A similar trend is observed in other counties in Pennsylvania.
In this case, the best option for the spouses is an uncontested divorce where both parties come to a joint agreement regarding the main issues of their divorce such as the division of property and debts, child custody, alimony, and support. By resolving all issues in the divorce together, the spouses will be able to avoid attending a large number of court hearings and paying for the services of expensive lawyers.
The spouses filing for divorce in Lancaster County should meet the mandatory residency requirements. Only bona fide residents who have lived in this Commonwealth for at least 6 months are eligible to file for divorce. (PA Code, Sec. 3104).
Lancaster County Divorce Forms
What the final package of divorce papers in Lancaster County comprises depends largely on whether the divorce is uncontested or contested. If the parties managed to reach a mutual consent agreement, they will need the following documents for the divorce:
- Notice to Defend and Divorce Complaint. These forms are used to subpoena the other spouse and initiate a formal divorce.
- Acceptance of Service and Certificate of Service. It is a proof that copies of the pleadings were delivered to the defendant, and a confirmation on the part of the defendant that they received the documents.
- Lancaster County divorce decree. It’s a documentary confirmation of the divorce which is signed and stamped by the judge at the time of the official dissolution of marriage.
- Marital Settlement Agreement. This form is included in the package of documents if the parties managed to reach an out-of-court settlement before filing the application.
- Affidavit of Consent of Plaintiff and Affidavit of Consent of Defendant.By completing these legal documents, the parties agree to a no-fault divorce.
- Waiver of Notice for Defendant. The document is signed by the defendant and allows for divorce hearings to be held in their absence.
Please note that the list above is not exhaustive. You may require additional forms or slightly different ones depending on your case.
Where to File Divorce Papers in Lancaster County
Not all courts consider divorce cases, so it is necessary that you file for divorce in the family division of the county court. Here is where you can file for divorce in Lancaster County:
|Court Name:||Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas|
|Court Title:||In the Circuit Court of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania|
|Circuit Court Location:||50 North Duke Street, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17608|
No matter what type of divorce you file for, you will have to pay Lancaster County divorce filing fees in court. In Lancaster County Family Courts, the fees range between $300 and $350 depending on the paperwork you file and services you request from the court.
Steps to File for Divorce in Lancaster County
The general Lancaster County divorce procedure includes five stages:
- One of the parties (Plaintiff) prepares the divorce forms and documents that are necessary for a particular divorce case. These forms are filled out in accordance with state and county laws and submitted to the Lancaster Clerk of Courts.
- The next step is the serving process when the Plaintiff makes copies of the completed papers and serves them to the second party (the Defendant). It is important to note that the Plaintiff does not have the right to hand over the documents in person. The options available are to mail the papers, deliver them through a bailiff or another person who is not a minor and not a party to the case.
- After the serving process is completed, the documents confirming the service are submitted to the court. These documents are an Affidavit of Service, Certificate of Service, or other specific forms, depending on the type of action.
- After filing for divorce in Lancaster County, there will be a 90-day waiting period, during which spouses have the opportunity to reconsider the decision to divorce. Within this period, the Defendant must file a response, and the parties have to provide the court with all necessary forms of consent.
- Once the final divorce decree is signed, the divorce is officially finalized. Following the final hearing, the divorce papers are submitted to the Office of the Clerk.
Depending on the number of issues spouses have to ask the court to resolve for them, the divorce process can take up to several years. This is especially true for a fault-based divorces, where one partner has to prove that the other partner’s actions led to the marriage dissolution.
Contested divorce is the most expensive way to end the marriage, as the spouses will have to cover the high costs of a lawyer’s services. If the parties can reach an agreement on the disputed issues, they may file the documents without legal assistance. This option will allow them to avoid lengthy litigation and will afford significantly reduce further spending.
In a situation with an uncontested divorce, proceeding goes in a much easier and faster way. If your divorce is uncontested, our online service is ready to provide you with a complete set of divorce forms with instructions on how to properly file them with the court. The main advantages of this option are:
- All you need to get the forms is your PC or smartphone.
- You will be able to manage your time more efficiently, without being tied to a lawyer’s schedule.
- You will have the opportunity, if necessary, to make changes to your divorce forms.
- The cost of our services is much lower compared to lawyer’s flat-fee pricing options for uncontested cases.