This research guide is provided by Jenkins Law Library to help with research regarding divorce in Pennsylvania and is not offered as legal advice. This guide is not a complete collection of law and commentary. There may be more laws and or materials that are relevant to your issue than what is listed here, and further research may be required.
Divorce and the Pandemic - Philadelphia
Philadelphia Bar Association Family Law Resources
Contains forms and brochures (in PDF format) prepared through the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association, including Divorce in Philadelphia County During COVID-19.
Philadelphia Courts - First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Coronavirus Information
Features COVID-19 response updates including Administrative Orders issued by the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. For example, on May 15, 2020, the Court issued Order 34 of 2020 regarding the operations and protocols for Family Court during the pandemic. Check for updates from the Court.
Make sure to check below for more information about forms and procedures regarding both simple, no-fault divorces and more complicated divorces (including "fault" divorces).
Self-Help Divorce Forms: Simple, No-Fault Divorces
If you want to file for a simple, no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania, forms that you will use for each step of the process are available from the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania's website. Here's how you access them:
- Visit the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania's Divorce Proceedings webpage.
- Scroll down and click on the forms in the section that correspond to the type of divorce case you want to pursue ("mutual consent", "applicable time of separation", etc.)
Before you begin, the Unified Judicial System's webpage recommends that you carefully read the instructions in the Divorce Procedure in Pennsylvania, which explains procedures and can help you choose the forms you need. Please note that several forms have been recently updated and parts of this document are out of date. They suggest checking back to their site for an updated document soon. For more information on the recent changes to PA divorce forms, see Jenkins' blog post on the topic.
Also see the "Divorce in Philadelphia County" brochure, sponsored by the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association. UPDATE: For information about divorce in Philadelphia during the pandemic, please see the brochure, "Divorce in Philadelphia County During COVID-19."
Complicated Divorce Matters & "Fault" Divorce
For more complicated divorce matters, including when there is property, you are seeking alimony, or you want to obtain a divorce on "fault" grounds, you should consult an attorney to determine which forms and procedures will apply to your specific situation. The Philadelphia County Domestic Relations Practice manual (available at Jenkins) includes a chapter on Divorce Practice, which can serve as a starting point for researching a divorce on "fault" grounds in Philadelphia.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association publishes a basic FAQ pamphlet on Divorce and Separation.
PA Statutes & Court Rules
The following Pennsylvania statutes and court rules may help you get started on your research. Links are to free online resources when available, but you may need to conduct additional research at Jenkins.
- See Title 23, Part IV: Divorce for the text of the PA Divorce Code.
- See 23 Pa.C.S. 3301 for “Grounds for divorce.”
- Please note: Other Pennsylvania statutes may also apply to your situation. Conduct a search or browse the statutes to find additional references.
- To find more information about accessing the annotated version (a version with notes that explain or comment on the law) of the statutes in print at Jenkins or through other resources, please see the Pennsylvania Statutes guide.
Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (pacodeandbulletin.gov)
- For “Actions of Divorce or for Annulment of Marriage,” see Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, Pa.R.C.P. 1920.1 - 1920.92.
- For “Rules Relating to Domestic Relations Matters, Generally,” see Pa.R.C.P. 1930.1 - 1931.
- Please note: Other state rules of court may also apply to your situation.
- Please note: Local rules of court may also apply, so please check the local rules in your jurisdiction.
- To find information about accessing the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure in print at Jenkins or through other resources, please see Pennsylvania Court Rules - State guide. For information about accessing local rules of courts, see the Pennsylvania Court Rules - County guide.