Seth Eric Springer, Esq.
How Long Does a Joint Divorce Take?
In Pennsylvania, getting a joint divorce can take anywhere from four to six months. The proceedings take less time because both parties agree that their marriage is beyond repair and recognize it is time to move on.
From procedure technicalities to specific details about the spouses and their relationship, here are all the factors that influence the duration of a joint divorce.
What Is a Joint Divorce?
A married couple can file for a joint divorce if they agree on all the separation details. These details include the grounds for divorce, division of property, as well as spousal and child support.
Another name for a joint divorce is a mutual consent divorce. In other words, the spouses agree the reason for separation is no one’s fault. In addition, they both believe that they cannot go on as a couple and that there is no possibility of rebuilding their relationship.
This type of divorce usually does not take more than a few months, as the spouses have the same interests. Thus, there are no trials, testimonies, and long court battles. The parties simply file their paperwork, wait for the court’s approval, and then the divorce is finalized.
The Procedure for a Mutual Consent Divorce
In a mutual consent divorce, both parties agree that going their separate ways is the best option. In addition, they do not wish to prolong the proceedings beyond the legal norm.
If the spouses are eligible for this type of divorce, one of them should file a complaint to the court. However, there is one condition that the spouse must meet for the complaint to be admissible in court.
Namely, they must show proof they lived in the state of Pennsylvania for at least 6 months prior to filing the documentation. If they cannot provide the evidence, the spouses must wait for an additional 6 months to pass before submitting their papers.
After the court receives the complaint, the filing spouse has 30 days to serve it to the other party involved. Once the 30 days pass, a 90-day waiting period commences. However, there is no way to waive this period or shorten it. Under state law, 90 days must pass for the proceedings to continue.
After the Waiting Period
Once the waiting period is over, both parties need to submit sworn affidavits confirming their consent to the divorce and agreement on all details of the separation. Once they submit this paperwork, it is up to a judge to grant the divorce.
Since the parties agree on all terms, a hearing is not necessary. That is what makes this type of divorce the quickest option. At this point, a court clerk goes over the paperwork to confirm that all is in order. After, they present the judge with the facts of the case.
Furthermore, the judge has to review the documentation and issue a divorce decree. Such a decision can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the judge’s schedule and the relevant information about the case. But in most instances, it doesn’t take more than a week, as the cases are straightforward.
Once the judge issues a divorce decree, both parties receive it either via mail or in person. Finally, the only task left is to sign the document, and the divorce is complete.
The Importance of Good Legal Representation
For a divorce to be quick and seamless, both parties should hire an experienced divorce lawyer. Making errors and having trouble navigating the legal system is common, especially since divorces are usually emotionally and financially draining. If any such problems arise, the proceedings can take longer.
Fortunately, working with a divorce attorney in York can help prevent any issues. They can fill out and file complaints along with affidavits, keep track of deadlines, and maintain contact with the court instead of the spouses.
Moreover, lawyers can help the spouses reach an agreement on financial matters before filing documents. They can help protect retirement in a divorce. As previously mentioned, that is one of the requirements of a mutual consent divorce.
All in all, having good legal support can make a big difference for both parties. They can focus on starting their new lives without worrying about paperwork. In addition, the former spouses can ensure that no mistakes will prolong the divorce more than necessary under the law.
On a further note, we also have an article discussing the rights of a wife in a divorce.