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Filing a No Fault Divorce under § 3301 (d) of the Divorce Code
Living Separate and Apart
Self Help - Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas

To file under §3301(d) the parties must have lived separate and apart for a period of at least one (1) year.

This informational section is for reference and research purposes. This section explains the basic forms needed for a plaintiff to file a simple No Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania when the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least one (1) year.

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.

State and Local Court Rules Must Be Followed.

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

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

  • Print a copy of this printable checklist. This printable checklist is meant to be used in conjunction with this self-help section.
  • Read and understand the following disclaimers.

  • Completing the divorce process is your responsibility. There is no guarantee that you will be able to successfully complete a divorce using this self-help system.
  • This self-help information is not intended to be legal advice. No additional assistance is available from court staff.
  • To complete a divorce successfully, you must follow certain Rules of Court. Instructions on this checklist and on the forms are based on the Rules of Court, but there may be other options.
  • If you want to use another option, that is your choice. However, court and law library staff will not suggest, discuss or instruct you on those options. You may have to do additional reading or legal research to choose the correct option for you.
  • You must record the dates on which you take certain steps on the printed checklist so that you have record of those dates to complete other forms later in the process.
  • If you fail to do the steps in the proper order, fail to complete steps, or fail to keep track of dates, you risk having your divorce denied.
  • If you plan to E-file your documents from your own PC, your browser’s default PDF reader may prevent the PDF self-help forms from being fully operational when opened and completed in the browser.
    • If Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat is not your default PDF reader, make it your default PDF Reader.
    • If you do not have Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader is available for download free at:
      https://www.adobe.com/acrobat/pdf-reader.html
    To be able to electronically sign Self-help PDF forms
    1. Download the form to your PC,
    2. Open form in Adobe Reader* or Adobe Acrobat,
    3. Complete and electronically sign,
    4. Save completed form to PC and rename before uploading through E-filing system (OFS Odyssey File & Serve).
  • Some forms may need to be printed and scanned or photographed and converted to pdf before E-filing. If you do not have access to a scanner you will have to E-file in person at the Lehigh County Courthouse.

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GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS TO PARTIES WITH NO LAWYER

There are complex rules of law that everyone who comes to court must follow. You must follow these rules even though you are not a lawyer because the rules exist to provide an orderly process to reach a fair conclusion. Click here

  • Complete the following form:
    • Praecipe for self-representation pdf
SECTION 1 - COMPLAINT PREPARATION
  • Complete the following:
    • Complaint Packet: (Form 4 Complaint and Form 3 Notice to Defend and Claim Rights, Notice of Availability of Counseling). pdf
    • Affidavit under §3301(d): (Form 10) pdf
    • Counter Affidavit Under §3301(d) (Form 12) pdf
SECTION 2 - E-FILING COMPLAINT PACKET AND AFFIDAVIT FORMS
Option 1 E-filing in person at the Lehigh County Courthouse
  • Take the following to the Lehigh County Courthouse, Clerk of Judicial Records room 122.
    • Completed, signed and printed Praecipe for self-representation form.
    • Completed, signed and printed Complaint Packet (Form 3 and 4).
    • Completed, signed and printed Affidavit under §3301(d) (Form 10)
    • Blank copy of Counter Affidavit Under §3301(d) (Form 12)
    • Cash, Money order or Credit/Debit Card to cover divorce filling fees. No personal checks will be accepted. Note: When using a Credit/Debit Card a service fee will be added. For filing fees see the Civil Fee Schedule.
  • Give the completed, signed and printed forms to the Civil Clerk at the window.
  • Pay all filing fees.
    NOTE: For an additional $1.00 per page conversion fee, the Civil Clerk will E-file your documents for you at the window when you pay, then you may skip the Kiosk.
  • Proceed to Kiosk to E-file original documents.
  • You will receive one (1) time-stamped complimentary copy for your records.
  • You MUST make two (2) additional copies of the time-stamped Complaint packet and both Affidavit Forms for Section 3-Serving the Defendant by Certified and first-class mail.
Option 2 E-filing from your personal computer
  • Register at https://pennsylvania.tylertech.cloud/ofsweb.
    Information regarding registration, independent filer instructions, and Family Court Guidelines are available under the Self-Help section of the Lehigh County Odyssey File & Serve site at https://pennsylvania.tylertech.cloud/ofsweb.
  • E-filing a new action, choose "Start a New Case" from the Filer Dashboard.
    • Case Information
      • Location-select "Civil"
      • Category-select "Family"
      • Case Type-select "Divorce"
    • Party Information
      • Enter Plaintiff Name and Address - "Save changes"
      • Enter Defendant Name and Address - "Save changes"
    • Filings
      • Filing Code Select "Praecipe for Appearance for Family Court" from drop down list.
        • Under Lead Document upload your completed Praecipe for self-representation form
        • "Save Changes"
        • Click on "Add Another Filing"
      • Filing Code Select "Complaint for Divorce" from drop down list.
        • Under Lead Document upload your completed Complaint Packet (Form 3 and 4)
        • "Save Changes"
        • Click on "Add Another Filing"
      • Filing Code Select "Pltf's 3301 (D) Afdt & Notice" from drop down list.
        • Under Lead Document upload your completed Affidavit under § 3301(d) (Form 10)
        • "Save Changes"
        • Click on "Add Another Filing"
      • Filing Code Select "Affidavit" from drop down list.
        • Upload Blank Counter Affidavit Under § 3301(d) (Form 12)
        • "Save Changes"
    • Fees
      • Confirm your payment information.
        • "Save Changes"
        • Click on "Summary". An Attention Filer pop up box will appear. Click "I understand".
        • Click "Submit" the filing to the review queue. (You will receive an email notification for each submitted document.)
  • An email notification will be sent upon acceptance or rejection of the filing.  The acceptance notification will contain the case number assigned and the time-stamped document(s).
    • For Section 3-Serving the Defendant::
      • Print two (2) time-stamped copies of the Complaint Packet
      • Print two (2) time-stamped copies of Affidavit under § 3301(d)
      • Print two (2) time-stamped copies of Blank Counter Affidavit Under § 3301(d)
Important 30 day information

You only have 30 days from the day your Complaint Packet was accepted and time-stamped through E-filing to complete the next section. Failure to complete the next section in a timely manor may you risk having your divorce denied.

Reord the Date: Time-stamped date on accepted E-filed Complaint Packet.

SECTION 3 - SERVING THE DEFENDANT

Time deadline of Service

The Plaintiff must serve the defendant with the Complaint (form 4), the Notice to Defend (form 3), Affidavit under §3301(d) (form 10) and a blank copy of the Counter Affidavit under §3301(d) (form 12) within 30 days of the date that Forms 3, 4, 10 and 12 were filed with the Clerk of Judicial Records or within 90 days if the Defendant does not live in the state of Pennsylvania.

Manner of Service

Notice of Options: There are multiple options for the manner of service of original process in Domestic Relations Matters in Pennsylvania.

See Rule 1930.4. Service of Original Process in Domestic Relations Matters for the rules for all options.

You are responsible for choosing the method of service that you decide is best for you. You will also have to choose the correct Affidavit of Service Form for your chosen method of service in Section 4.

Instructions for one method of service, "Certified mail, Return Receipt Requested, Deliver to Addressee Only, and by first-class regular mail to Defendant's last known address", are given as an example on the printable checklist..

If you are unsuccessful or unable to serve the Defendant, then STOP and consult an attorney.

SECTION 4 - PROOF OF SERVICE
Step 1. If you have successfully served the Defendant, choose and complete the appropriate Affidavit of Service Form:
Step 2. Complete the following form and attach Exhibits as needed:
  • Form Exhibit A:pdf
SECTION 5 - E-FILING PROOF OF SERVICE

NOTE: If you plan on E-filing from your personal computer, Exhibit A with attached Domestic Return Receipt must be scanned to pdf. If you do not have a scanner, you may E-file at the Clerk of Judicial Records as described in Option 1.

Option 1 E-filing at the Lehigh County Courthouse
  • Take the following to the Lehigh County Courthouse, Clerk of Judicial Records room 122
    • Completed, signed and printed Affidavit of Service
    • Exhibit A with attached exhibits
    • Cash or Credit/Debit Card to cover fees. No personal checks will be accepted. Note when using a Credit/Debit Card a service fee will be added.
  • Choose to E-file at the Kiosk or by the Civil Clerk.
    • Proceed to Kiosk to E-file original documents at no cost.
    OR
    • Give completed, signed and printed forms to the Civil Clerk at the window.
    • Pay conversion fee of $1.00 per page. The Civil Clerk will E-file your documents for you.
  • You will receive one (1) time-stamped complimentary copy for your records.
  • Retain originals for records.
Option 2 E-filing from your personal computer
  • Scan or photograph Exhibit A with attached exhibits and convert to pdf.
  • Log into your OFS account https://pennsylvania.tylertech.cloud/ofsweb
    • Filer Dashboard
      • Choose "File into Existing Case"
      • Search for your assigned Case Number
      • Click on your assigned Case Number
      • Click on "Actions" to the right of the selected Case Number
      • Select "File into Case"
    • Filings
      • Filing Code select "Affidavit of Service" from drop down list.
        • Under Lead Document Upload Affidavit of Service
        • "Save Changes"
        • Click on "Add Another Filing"
      • Filing Code Select "Exhibit" from drop down list.
        • Under Lead Document Upload pdf of Exhibit A
        • "Save Changes"
    • Fees
      • Confirm your payment information.
      • Click on "Summary"
      • Click "Submit" the filing to the review queue.
  • Keep Original Domestic Return Receipt (green post card Form 3811) for records.
SECTION 6 - ALLOW 20 DAYS FOR DEFENDANT'S RESPONSE

If you were able to complete Section 4-Proof of Service and Section 5-E-filing Proof of Service, you now have proof on your docket that you served the Complaint Packet containing Complaint (Form 4) and Notice to Defend and Notice of Availability of Counseling (Form 3), Affidavit Under §3301(d) (form 10) and a blank copy of Counter Affidavit under §3301(d) (form 12) on the defendant.

  • You must wait 20 days from the date of service to allow the defendant to respond before proceeding to the next section.
  • Do not continue to the next section until after the 20 day waiting period.
  • If the defendant does respond by filing documents, then STOP and consult an attorney.
SECTION 7 - NOTICE OF INTENTION TO REQUEST DIVORCE DECREE

NOTE: Before starting this section, you must be prepared to complete and PRINT these forms and mail them to the Defendant the same day. You are announcing your plans to ask the court for a divorce decree after 20 additional days.

Step 1. Form Preparation
  • Complete the following:
    • Form 14 Notice of Intention and Blank Copy Cover Letter | pdf
    • Form 12 Counter Affidavit Under §3301(d) pdf
    • Form 11 Notice of Intention to Request Divorce Decree: pdf
    • Form 8 Praecipe to Transmit Record (Proposed): pdf
Step 2. Mail documents
  • Address an envelope to the Defendant
  • Put on (1) copy of the following in the envelope address to the Defendant
    • Completed, signed and printed Form 14 Notice of Intention and Blank Copy Cover Letter
    • Form 12 Blank Counter Affidavit Under §3301(d)
    • Completed, signed and printed Form 11 Notice of Intention to Request Divorce Decree
    • Form 8 Praecipe to Transmit Record (Proposed)
  • Mail to the Defendant by First Class Mail
Step 3. Form preparation Certification of Service
  • Complete the following
    • Form 13 Certification of Service: pdf
SECTION 8 - E-FILE CERTIFICATION OF SERVICE

NOTE: If you plan on E-filing from your personal computer, you must have a scanner to create a pdf packet. If you do not have a scanner, you may E-file at the Clerk of Judicial Records as described in Option 1.

Option 1 E-filing at the Lehigh County Courthouse
  • Take the following to the Lehigh County Courthouse, Clerk of Judicial Records room 122.
    • Completed, signed and printed Form 13 Certification of Service
    • Completed, signed and printed Form 14 Notice of Intention and Blank Copy Cover Letter.
    • Form 12 Blank Counter Affidavit Under § 3301(d)
    • Completed, signed and printed Form 11 Notice of Intention to Request Divorce Decree
    • Form 8 Praecipe to Transmit Record (Proposed)
    • Cash, Money order or Credit/Debit Card to cover divorce filling fees. No personal checks will be accepted. Note when using a Credit/Debit Card a service fee will be added. For filing fees see the Civil Fee Schedule.
  • Give the completed, signed and printed forms to the Civil Clerk at the window.
  • Pay all filing fees.
    NOTE: For an additional $1.00 per page conversion fee, the Civil Clerk will E-file your documents for you at the window when you pay, then you may skip the Kiosk.
  • Proceed to Kiosk to E-file original documents.
  • You will receive one (1) time-stamped complimentary copy for your records.
Option 2 E-filing from your personal computer
  • Scan the following completed printed forms into one pdf file: (Make sure Certification of Service (Form 13) is the top page)
    • Certification of Service (Form 13)
    • Notice of Intention and Blank Copy Cover Letter (Form 14)
    • Blank Counter Affidavit Under § 3301(d) (Form 12)
    • Notice of Intention to Request Divorce Decree (Form 11)
    • Praecipe to Transmit Record (Proposed) (Form 8)
  • Log into your OFS account https://pennsylvania.tylertech.cloud/ofsweb
    • Filer Dashboard
      • Choose "File into Existing Case"
      • Search for your assigned Case Number
      • Click on your assigned Case Number
      • Click on "Actions" to the right of the selected Case Number
      • Select "File into Case"
    • Filings
      • Filing Code select "Affidavit of Service" from drop down list.
        • Under Lead Document upload your scanned Certification of Service pdf packet
        • "Save Changes"
    • Fees
      • Confirm your payment information.
      • Click on "Summary"
      • Click "Submit" the filing to the review queue.
SECTION 9 - ALLOW 20 DAYS FOR DEFENDANT'S RESPONSE

You must wait 20 days from the date you mailed the Notice of Intention/Proposed Praecipe Packet in Section 7 to allow Defendant to respond before proceeding to the next section.

If the Defendant does respond by filing documents, then STOP and consult an attorney.

SECTION 10 - FINAL PRAECIPE TO TRANSMIT RECORD
  • Complete the following:
    • Form 8 Praecipe to Transmit Record (Final): pdf
    • Form 9 Decree (Proposed): pdf
SECTION 11 - E-FILING-PRAECIPE TO TRANSMIT RECORD
Option 1 E-filing at the Lehigh County Courthouse
  • Take the following to the Lehigh County Courthouse, Clerk of Judicial Records room 122.
    • Completed, signed and printed Form 8 Praecipe to Transmit Record (Final)
    • Completed Form 9 Decree (Proposed)
    • Cash, Money order or Credit/Debit Card to cover divorce filling fees. No personal checks will be accepted. Note when using a Credit/Debit Card a service fee will be added. For filing fees see the Civil Fee Schedule.
  • Give the completed, signed and printed forms to the Civil Clerk at the window.
  • Pay all filing fees.
    NOTE: For an additional $1.00 per page conversion fee, the Civil Clerk will E-file your documents for you at the window when you pay, then you may skip the Kiosk.
  • Proceed to Kiosk to E-file original documents.
  • You will receive one (1) time-stamped complimentary copy for your records.
Option 2 E-filing from your personal computer
  • Log into your OFS account https://pennsylvania.tylertech.cloud/ofsweb
    • Filer Dashboard
      • Choose "File into Existing Case"
      • Search for your assigned Case Number
      • Click on your assigned Case Number
      • Click on "Actions" to the right of the selected Case Number
      • Select "File into Case"
    • Filings
      • Filing Code select "Praecipe to Transmit Record" from drop down list.
        • Under Lead Document Upload Praecipe to Transmit Record (Final) (Form 8)
        • "Save Changes"
        • Click on "Add Another Filing"
      • Filing Code select "Proposed Divorce Decree" from drop down list.
        • Under Lead Document Upload Decree (Proposed) (Form 9)
        • "Save Changes"
    • Fees
      • Confirm your payment information.
      • Click on "Summary"
      • Click "Submit" the filing to the review queue.

    We recommend that you use the printable checklist.

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    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 Lehigh Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service website.

    Tracking address: Tracking code - do not email: crt5-ceafcf@users1.lccpa.org (do not email this address - tracking purposes only)

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