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No Fault Divorce -Two Year Separation

No Fault Divorce under § 3301 (d) of the Divorce Code - Two Year Separation

Section D is used when the parties have already lived separate and apart for at least two years. In this type of divorce, defendant's consent may not be not required.

Filing a No Fault Divorce under §3301 (d) of the Divorce Code-Two Year Separation

To file under §3301(d) the parties must have lived separately for two (2) years or more.

This instructional section is for reference and research only. This section explains the basic forms needed for a plaintiff to file a simple No Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania when the parties have been separated for two years in a step-by-step format.

Divorce in Pennsylvania involves important legal rights involving money, property, and custody of children. The forms provided on this website are not appropriate for everyone. If you and/or your spouse have property, such as real estate, automobiles, life insurance, pension and retirement benefits, stocks, bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, or other assets and debts, you should seek the advice of an attorney. Marital property is all property acquired during marriage, regardless of whose name is on a title, policy, or account. IF YOU DO NOT FILE A CLAIM FOR ALIMONY, DIVISION OF PROPERTY, LAWYER'S FEES OR EXPENSES BEFORE A DIVORCE IS GRANTED, YOU MAY LOSE THE RIGHT TO CLAIM ANY OF THEM.

The forms below are available in Word and PDF format.

State and Local Court Rules Must Be Followed.

If the Defendant is serving in the military, then STOP and consult and attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: To complete the divorce successfully, you must follow all instructions and complete the forms exactly as written. You must also record the dates on which you take certain steps on the instructions so that you have those dates to complete other forms later in the process. If you fail to do the steps in the proper order, fail to complete any steps, or fail to keep track of dates, you risk having your divorce denied. Completing the divorce process is your responsibility. No additional assistance is available.
A downloadable PDF containing these complete instructions and the necessary forms is available here:
§3301(d) Two Year Separation Divorce Form Packet

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STEP ONE: Live separate and apart

STEP ONE: Live separate and apart

  • Pennsylvania law requires you and your spouse to have lived separate and apart before the Court can grant a divorce under § 3301(d).
    • If the date of separation began before December 5, 2016, the parties must have lived separate and apart for a period of two (2) years.
    • If the date of separation began on or after December 5, 2016, the parties must have lived separate and apart for a period of one (1) year.
STEP TWO: File the Complaint and Affidavit

STEP TWO: File the Complaint and Affidavit

  • To begin any civil proceeding, including a divorce proceeding, you must file a Complaint with the Prothonotary, located on the lower level of the courthouse.
  • The following five forms must be completed and filed:
    • Notice to Defendant and Claim Rights
      • This form gives the defendant notice of his or her rights and how to defend against your allegations.
    • Complaint in Divorce
      • Complete the Complaint by filling in the blanks. If a minor child is involved, identify him or her with initials.
    • Verification
      • This form indicates that the allegations in your Complaint are, to the best of your knowledge, true and correct.
      • This verification must be completed by you, not your attorney
    • Affidavit under Section 3301(d)
      • This form states that you and your spouse have, in fact, lived separate and apart for the applicable time period described above.
    • Blank Counter-Affidavit
      • This form allows the defendant to oppose the divorce and/or make claims for economic relief.
  • Attach together Forms 1-5 into one packet, and make two (2) copies of the packet.
    • The original packet will be filed with the Prothonotary.
    • One (1) packet will be for your records.
    • One (1) packet will be served on the defendant.
  • Take all three (3) packets to the Prothonotary for filing.
    • Give all three (3) packets to the clerk and ask him or her to timestamp them.
    • The clerk will keep the original packet for the official court file and will return the two copies to you.
  • NOTE: if you cannot afford the filing fee associated with this proceeding, you must simultaneously file a request to proceed in forma pauperis.
STEP THREE: Serve the Defendant and File Proof of Service

STEP THREE: Serve the Defendant and File Proof of Service

  • After filing Forms 1-5 with the Prothonotary, you must serve these five forms on the defendant within:
    • Thirty (30) days of the date of filing if the defendant lives in Pennsylvania.
    • Ninety (90) days of the date of filing if the defendant lives outside Pennsylvania.
  • Serve by certified mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery.
  • You must also complete, sign and file Affidavits and Certificates of Service, indicating that you have mailed the defendant the required forms.
    • When you receive the green card receipt, make a copy for your records and attach it to Form 6 before filing.
  • NOTE: if you were unable to serve the defendant within the time requirements, you must file a Praecipe to Reinstate the Complaint to re-start the clock.
STEP FOUR: Wait twenty (20) days

STEP FOUR: Wait twenty (20) days

  • After serving and filing your proof of service, you must wait twenty (20) days from the date the defendant accepted service. This waiting period allows the defendant an opportunity to respond.
STEP FIVE: Notice of Intention

STEP FIVE: Notice of Intention

  • After waiting twenty (20) days, you must file and serve the following three forms:
    • Cover Letter
    • Notice of Intention to Request Entry of Section 3301(d) Divorce Decree
    • Another Blank Counter-Affidavit
  • After serving these documents, you must complete and file another Certification of Service indicating that Forms 8-10 were mailed to the defendant.
STEP SIX: Wait another twenty (20) days

STEP SIX: Wait another twenty (20) days

  • Pennsylvania law requires that you wait another twenty (20) days after serving the Notice of Intention.
STEP SEVEN:File a Praecipe to Transmit

STEP SEVEN File a Praecipe to Transmit

  • The divorce may be concluded by filing a Praecipe to Transmit Record
    • Attach copies of the Notice of Intention and Blank Counter-Affidavit to the Praecipe to Transmit.
    • Also include a proposed Divorce Decree and a certified copy of the docket entries.
    • If your spouse is unrepresented and has not responded, you will also need to file an Affidavit of Non-Military Service.

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A downloadable PDF containing these complete instructions and the necessary forms is available here:
§3301(d) Two Year Separation Divorce Form Packet

Disclaimer
The forms and instructions that are available from this website are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Court employees cannot give you legal advice or help you fill out /complete the forms. It is your responsibility to read and complete the forms and to take required steps to file and serve the documents. If you decide to use these forms in an actual action, be prepared to spend appropriate time gathering information, completing forms and following the Rules of Court. The Court assumes no responsibility for the use of these forms and accepts no liability for actions taken by using these documents, including reliance on the instructions and/or contents. To obtain legal advice and to insure the proper use of this material, you should contact a lawyer.

If you want to obtain the service of an attorney, but do not know whom to contact, you should visit the Northampton County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service website.

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