Understanding the Divorce Timeline
On average, a Pennsylvania divorce can take between 90 days and 12 months. How long it will take to finalize your divorce is dependent on the specifics of your case. Specifically, you may have a waiting period imposed depending on whether you and your partner are separated, and the way you file (i.e. no-fault vs fault and contested vs. uncontested) can impact the timeline of your divorce. The court where you file your divorce petition may also have a heavy caseload, which can prolong the length of the process.
Mutual Consent Divorces in Pennsylvania
A mutual consent divorce typically takes 90 days to complete and can be finalized within about 4 months. You can file for a mutual consent divorce if you and your spouse:
- Agree on the terms of your divorce (i.e. spousal support, child support, child custody/visitation, and the division of assets/debts).
- Draft and sign a verbal agreement that attests to your mutual consent to dissolve your marriage.
- File a legally binding document that outlines your agreement.
- Do not want to file on fault-based grounds and will file on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce Timelines
While a contested divorce can take about five to twelve months, an uncontested divorce typically takes between one and six months. With a contested divorce, you and your soon-to-be-ex-partner do not agree on the terms of your divorce, and your divorce timeline can be influenced by:
- How willing each party is to compromise or cooperate.
- Each party’s lawyer’s caseload and availability.
- Whether you work out the terms in mediation or court.
- The court’s schedule.
With an uncontested divorce, a lot of the control is placed back in you and the other party’s hands. When you file uncontested, you file with the terms of your divorce already “ironed out,” and you both agree to those terms. Even if you do not initially agree on the terms, you both can work them out yourselves or with the help of a mediator, which can save you time and money.
Fault-Based vs. No-Fault Divorce Timelines
No-fault divorces can be more easily concluded than fault-based divorces, which can take approximately 6 months to conclude. In a fault-based divorce, both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence to the court that validates (or invalidate) the grounds for divorce. For instance, if you file on the grounds of adultery, you will need to prove that your spouse had an affair or was unfaithful; if they are contesting those grounds, they will also have the opportunity to try to disprove those accusations. Because evidence has to be collected and submitted in court, that adds more hearings and time to your case.
Do You Have to Wait 90 Days for a Divorce in PA?
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 3301, the court can grant a mutual consent divorce after 90 days if an affidavit has been filed by each party. Under this same law, the court can postpone a divorce for 90 to 120 days if you file for a divorce on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown, and you have not lived apart (or separate) for at least one year. During this period, the court may require a couple to attend the couple’s counseling. If the counseling is unsuccessful and at least one party still believes that the marriage is irreconcilable, the court may grant you a divorce.
How Can You Speed Up the Divorce Process in Pennsylvania?
At Cairns Law Offices, we offer our clients simple, affordable divorce services and are equipped to help couples who plan to file for a no-fault, uncontested divorce. If you are wondering how you can get divorced quickly and for a low cost, you should utilize our service to get divorced for only $299 within a month. The court costs and legal fees are included in that total ($299), and you can get started for as little as $29 down.
If you use our services, Cairns Law Offices can help you:
- Process the divorce using our online technology (the Divorce Wizard)
- File your case with the county court
- Reduce the financial and emotional burden of a drawn-out divorce
Learn more about our services today by calling (888) 863-9115 or contacting us online.