Is having an attorney required to get a PA divorce? My spouse and I have decided to divorce, and we are on good terms. The divorce should be relatively simple. Can we file the paperwork ourselves?

Required? No. Advisable? Maybe.  You can certainly file the paperwork yourselves, but before you do, it is a good idea to at least speak with a PA divorce lawyer about it.  This way, you will be aware of what the issues are and the options available to resolve them. There are many legal nuances that people often don’t know if they are not experienced family law or divorce lawyers.  You may be putting yourself at a disadvantage and end up with a marital settlement agreement that favors one party over the other, without even knowing that it happened this way.  Only after speaking with a divorce lawyer can you properly decide whether you need a divorce lawyer involved or not and to what extent.

There are a few things you should know if you decide to file the paperwork yourself.  Though the divorce may appear to be straightforward, the logistics of finalizing the divorce may be more complicated than you would think, given the need to comply with Rules of Civil Procedure and other local law requirements.  Thus, you have to be mentally prepared that it may not be as easy as you envisioned even though you and your spouse are on good terms.  Having to go through a divorce is stressful enough.  Having to make sure you completed the right paperwork should not be the source of more anxiety.

From a practical standpoint, if you don’t file the right paperwork, the divorce process may be delayed.  It is not uncommon that couples who do not hire divorce lawyers have problems completing the forms or inadvertently complete the wrong forms.  Dealing with the resulting problem notices will undoubtedly prolong the divorce process unnecessarily, a problem that can be easily avoided.

Related: Marital Property & Equitable Distribution in a Bucks County, PA Divorce

Consider the following example.  A couple living in Doylestown decides to divorce.  The parties are on good terms.  The husband drafts a marital settlement agreement for the wife to sign.  They agree that each party will keep his or her own assets and debts.  However, the agreement does not list the assets or the value of the assets.  The wife signs the agreement, and as it turns out, the husband has significantly more assets than the wife, and wife was completely unaware that such assets existed given the way that the parties managed their finances.  Thus, the wife unknowingly settles for less than what she should receive.  Depending on the terms of the agreement, the wife may be unsuccessful in challenging the marital settlement agreement at a later date, which is why it is important to consider all issues before the marital settlement agreement is signed.

For all of the above reasons, it is advisable to talk to a PA divorce lawyer to make sure you are protecting your interests.

Feel free to contact our PA divorce lawyers to schedule a consultation. We have offices in Doylestown and Newtown.