Pro Se Divorce Resource Guide
INFORMATION AND FORMS FOR A NO-FAULT DIVORCE IN WASHINGTON COUNTY:
The forms and information provided in these pages are not considered a substitute for legal advice. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY BEFORE FILING ANY DIVORCE FORMS. Anyone using these forms is warned that the forms only apply to a simple, no-fault divorce where no property is being divided. In most instances, once a decree in divorce has been issued, you can never come back to the court to ask for alimony or equitable division of property.
Either party has a right to request marriage counseling. The Prothonotary's Office will provide a list of counselors upon request. You can also find marriage counselors by looking in the 'yellow pages' under "COUNSELORS" and "PSYCHOLOGISTS". Most church leaders also offer counseling to their church members. In most instances, marriage counseling is not free.
The following information and forms are for use by the following individuals:
- You have been a resident of Pennsylvania for at least six (6) months;
- You do not want alimony;
- You do not have any marital property to divide; and
- Neither you nor your spouse is in the military service.
In order to learn how to properly complete and file your divorce papers, you will have to do legal research. Some places that you can use to learn about how to complete your divorce are:
www.pacode.com: You can find the Rules of Civil Procedure (Pa. R.C.P.) on this website. These rules tell you what documents must be completed and when they must be filed in order to get a decree in divorce. Once you enter this website, select 'browse', which will then take you to the titles. Select Title 231 for the Rules of Civil Procedure. Divorce rules begin at Rule 1920. Divorce or Annulment.
www.palawhelp.org: Once you enter this site, select 'Children and Families', then select 'divorce'. You will be given the choice to study various aspects of divorce law in Pennsylvania.
www.government.westlaw.com: This is the site for 'Unofficial Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes', which are the laws that govern legal actions in Pennsylvania and some of the prominent cases that illustrate and expand upon the law. Divorce law is found in Title 23, Chapter 33 (23 Pa.C.S.A.§3301).
The Washington County Law Library: Located in the basement of the Courthouse, the Law Library contains all the books you will need to research your issues and find the laws, rules and sample documents to help you prepare your divorce. When you visit the Law Library, please sign in and tell the librarian the type of case that you would like to research. The Law Library opens at 9:00 am and closes at 4:30 pm. The phone number is: 724.228.6747.
Citizen’s Library: Citizen’s Library has seven computers available to the public. You can use these computers to conduct research available through the websites listed above. Some important information about Citizen's Library:
- Anyone who lives in Washington County is eligible for a free library card. You should bring proof of residence to the library and ask for a card application. You may also ask to use a guest pass to use a computer.
- The library hours** are:
- Monday through Thursday: 9:30 am to 9:00 pm.
- Friday and Saturday: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
- Sunday: 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
- You can print the documents you create at the library. As of January, 2008, each printed page cost 20 cents.
- The phone number for the library is 724.222.2400
**We advise you to contact the library before visiting as hours of operation are subject to change.
- A divorce case is started with the filing of a Complaint. Refer to Pa.R.C.P 1920.12 for more information. You must provide the Prothonotary with the original Complaint plus three copies.
- All civil documents, such as divorce pleadings, must be filed with the Prothonotary. The Prothonotary publishes the filing fees and maintains a permanent file with the original documents. You should contact the Prothonotary’s Office to find out how much it will cost to file your divorce papers. The Prothonotary will file the original, assign a case number and return two (2) time-stamped copies to you. The third copy will be given to the Civil Division of Court Administration. For a small fee, the Prothonotary can provide copies of pleadings in your case. NOTE: NO PERSONAL CHECKS ARE ACCEPTED IN THIS OFFICE. The Prothonotary’s Office opens at 9:00 am and closes at 4:30 pm. The phone number is: 724.228.6770.
- Pa. R.C.P 1930.4 sets the requirements for Service of the Complaint.
- Proof of Service must be filed with the Prothonotary.
- The Affidavits of Consent and Waivers of Notice must be filed in accordance with Pa. R.C.P 1920.42.
- Two copies of the completed Praecipe to Transmit Record and a completed Vital Statistic Sheet must be filed with the Prothonotary in accordance with Pa. R.C.P 1920.42.
- A copy of the Praecipe to Transmit Record will be forwarded to the Civil Division of Court Administration. The Civil Division will then prepare an appropriate Decree in Divorce.
- The Divorce Decree will be mailed to each party approximately 14 days after the filing of the Praecipe to Transmit Record.
The following forms that must be filed in your divorce case:
- Complaint in Divorce
- Acceptance of Service
- Affidavit of Consent: Each Party Must File an Affidavit of Consent
- Waiver of Notice of Intention to Request Entry of a Divorce Decree Under §3301(c) of the Divorce Code:
Each Party Must File a Waiver
- Vital Statistics Sheet
- Praecipe to Transmit Record
- Affidavit of Service