Self Filing for Divorce in PA

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Self Filing for Divorce in PA

Postby ks5610 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:17 pm

I posted on here last week about how to begin a divorce. I'll quickly run back over the facts, I've only been married for 6 months, my wife is in school to be a Physicians Assistant and has not worked since we've been married or had income. We rent our home and have not bought anything of significant value since we have been married. She has been back and forth with me wanting counseling then divorce then just mad at everything and every other emotion. We finally talked peacefully and sensibly tonight and agreed it is time to just end this. I have already spoken with an attorney to get advice for all of this, and he wants $1,000 plus all court costs and "form fees" to do the divorce if their is not fighting between the two of us and it goes smooth. My wife has agreed to sit down with me and divide up what we have and then move out at the end of July and that we can just file ourselves since this will be no fault and I see no point in paying someone close to $1,500 to do what I can do for a few hundred. I have the paperwork my question is in looking over it, everything must be notarized and taken to the court house at different dates, as well as it says that I am not allowed to serve the papers to my wife in person, even though we are still residing in the same house. I think it has finally hit her it is over and it is just not worth it to pay attorneys over such a short marriage with such few joint assets and I've also made her a deal with her leaving with much more than she came with and a considerable chunk of my savings that will hold her over for awhile.
Has anyone ever done it this way before?
If I can't serve her the paperwork can I just mail it to her at the same address?
Can I find a notary and just take all of the signed documents in without dating them and get them stamped and then date them when necessary? The same for her?
If we make a comprehensive list of who gets what and where money and debt go and both sign it will that protect us from the other if one changes their mind? Should that be notarized?
Once the divorce is finalized (91) days, is that final? If she is out of the house and all accounts and money are split, am I safe at that point that she can not come back on me?
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Re: Self Filing for Divorce in PA

Postby BartSimpson » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:26 pm

Hire that attorney. Don't be so foolish trying to save $1000.

Your questions are an indication that you are in way over your head.
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Re: Self Filing for Divorce in PA

Postby ks5610 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:35 pm

BartSimpson wrote:Hire that attorney. Don't be so foolish trying to save $1000.

Your questions are an indication that you are in way over your head.


I'm not arguing at all I'm here to get advice like this, but can you explain a little better? Such as I'm in over my head with the paperwork or I'm in over my head it's going to come back to bite me in the butt a year or so down the road if she decides she wants something else?
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Re: Self Filing for Divorce in PA

Postby BartSimpson » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:47 pm

The insurance from having an attorney do it far outweighs the meager savings of in pro per.

It's about 4 hours time for the attorney; how much do you earn an hour?

How many hours will you spend trying to get it right?

How many hours will you spend worried about it?

Do a cost-benefit analysis on it.
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Re: Self Filing for Divorce in PA

Postby FortheChildren » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:12 am

Based on your questions, length of marriage and I assume no children I would recommend using an attorney and just get it done quick and right. The amount of time and stress involved doing it yourself can be very high. This is coming from someone who did it by himself pro se without any attornies involved.

If you are going to proceed on your own be sure to understand ALL of the paperwork involved and ALL of the procedures required in your state. All documents should be notorized at the time and date they are signed. Your local bank most likely has a notary. That is who me and my EX used and it was free because we had an account there.

Also I was in the sameposition where we were living in the same house during the divorce and as annoying as it is you must deliver all copies by the proper procedure. In MI the initial filing papers has to be served by either a processor or the county sheriff. (I used the later). Other papers either had to be sent certified or by first class. Anytime I sent a paper to her I had to submit an afidavit of mailing with the court clerk. So it involved a lot of trips to the court house. Also be sure to bring 4-5 copies of every document with you to the court house. They will date stamp them. 1 copy is for you, 1 for your stbx and the remainder are for the clerks record,the judge andpossibly FOC or prosecuting attorney for the county.. All copies to yoir stbx must not be delivered by you directly. Failure to follow your state rules could give your stbx grounds to reopen the case or get it thrown out if she changes her mind and decides to fight it.
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Re: Self Filing for Divorce in PA

Postby FortheChildren » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:20 am

Also the comprehinsive list you are referring to is called a marriage settlement agreement. Search for it on this site there are many examples. It should be detailed and once notorized (again for MI law not sure about PA) it falls under contract law and as long as the divorce goes uncontested the judge will likely sign off on it. If the divorce becomes contested the judge can throw it out if he feels it is not equitable distribution of assets but still would likely follow it as it was agreed to.

Be sure to do your research on this, you do not want to get it wrong or overlook something.
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Re: Self Filing for Divorce in PA

Postby FortheChildren » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:35 am

As to your last question about timing, the 91 days you are referring to likely is you state minimum time requirement between initial filing and your final judgment hearing. Here in MI it is 60 days for divorce with no chilren and 180 days if you do. It took me uncontested almost 8 months to get it completed here. So look at that time as a minimum. For some on here the process has taken a year or more. Timing is based on a lot of factors including having the proper paperwork submitted and the judges schedule. In MI when the judge signs the Order of Final Judgment the divorce is complete. Luckiky in my case the judge signed it on the spot after reviewing it for about 15-20 minutes and askung both of us several questions. I have heard stories where the judge will review itafter the hearing and sign it at a later date or return it to be modified and resubmitted.
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Re: Self Filing for Divorce in PA

Postby BubbaGumpShrimp » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:47 am

FortheChildren wrote:Also the comprehinsive list you are referring to is called a marriage settlement agreement. Search for it on this site there are many examples. It should be detailed and once notorized (again for MI law not sure about PA) it falls under contract law and as long as the divorce goes uncontested the judge will likely sign off on it. If the divorce becomes contested the judge can throw it out if he feels it is not equitable distribution of assets but still would likely follow it as it was agreed to.

Be sure to do your research on this, you do not want to get it wrong or overlook something.


Yup. Hire an attorney. Virginia has the same document. They call it a "Property" Settlement Agreement (same thing). A lawyer will have a pre-canned format that's completely filled out with the legal mumbo jumbo. The lawyer just adds in the terms of your agreement and your particulars (names, dates, etc.). Just pay the extra money to make sure that it's done right the first time.
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Re: Self Filing for Divorce in PA

Postby Fatheroffour » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:06 pm

I did my last divorce all myself for the cost of postage and the filing fees.

But I'd had plenty of previous practice and education.
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