Apr 11, 2023
How Long Does a Divorce take in Chester County?
The timing of divorce proceedings are set by the state legislature in the Pennsylvania Divorce Code.
Within the two most utilized categories of no-fault filing, the first is a consent divorce, which means that both parties are willing to agree to the divorce without any issues at all. One party acts as the plaintiff, and files a divorce complaint. The second party acknowledges that they have received the complaint; this is called the acceptance of service. Then the parties enter a ninety (90) day mandatory waiting period. There is no way to get around the mandatory; you cannot sneak by with a waiting period of anything less 90 days. At the end of the 90 days, the parties both sign affidavits of consent (meaning that they are consenting to the divorce, without reservation) and waivers, which say to the Court, we are waiving all additional notification from the Court. Along with the consents and waivers, the plaintiff “asks’ the Court for the final decree in divorce. As long as all documents are filed in a timely manner, and all legal requirements are met, the Court will enter a final decree in divorce. You do not have to appear in front of a Judge, or even enter the Courthouse. You can do all filing through the mail.
Because two sets of documents must be filed before the 90 days starts, and two after the 90 days expires, I advise all clients that they should allow a minimum of 5 months from first step to the final divorce decree. Not all counties process at the same pace. It can take longer for one reason or another. What clients always need to know is that you can file everything in the most expeditious manner, and it can still be delayed. Courts move at their own pace, and clients, and attorneys cannot “hurry” them along.
The other no-fault category is for couples who have been separated for more than a year, or if separated before 2016, for more than two (2) years. It also is utilized when one person does not consent to the divorce. After a year long separation, Judges will grant the moving party the divorce. This works just like the consent divorce. There is a complaint filed, an acceptance of service filed and then after 20 days, there are documents filed asking for the divorce. Again, if all legal requirements are met, the Judge will grant the parties a final divorce. No appearance in Court is required.
At the Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation, we file most of our divorces under the consent category, because obviously the parties are agreeing to the divorce. Occasionally, if the parties have been separated for a period of more than one year, the 20-day period works great too.
Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation