Get Help Now

Call or email for a confidential consultation

Family Law Blog

How Long Do I Have to Respond to a Divorce Complaint in Pennsylvania?

Published: Apr 08, 2020 in Divorce
How Long Do I Have to Respond to a Divorce Complaint in Pennsylvania

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

You expect your marriage to last forever, but divorce does happen. It can be sad and very emotional to realize that your relationship is ending. If you are served a divorce complaint, you may be unsure of what to do next. There are very strict time limitations on how long you have to respond. Read below to learn more about how long you have to respond to a divorce complaint in Pennsylvania.

If you have questions about your divorce, contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC right away. We will handle the response for your divorce complaint or any other documents you have received. Call us today at (412) 471-5100 or use our online contact form.

Deadline to Respond to a Divorce Complaint

The Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure give the responding party in a lawsuit, including a divorce, 90 calendar days to respond. The responding party is called the defendant, even in family law cases like divorces. The filing party is called the plaintiff.

When Does The Timeline to Respond to a Divorce Begin?

The date that the defendant is served is considered day 1 of the 90 day time period. Service to the defendant must take place in a legal manner, which may include:

  • By Personal Service – This includes hand delivering documents to the other party; however, it cannot be done by the plaintiff or a person related to them. Often, personal service takes place by a lawyer or official trained to find and serve people with papers. When service is done in this manner, it must be accompanied by an Affidavit of Personal Service`.
  • By Mail – There are very specific rules to follow when serving someone divorce papers via mail, which includes an Affidavit of Service of Original Process by Mail. It should be sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, Deliver to Addressee Only and regular mail, at the defendant’s last known address
  • By Other Methods – If the plaintiff chooses to serve divorce papers by other means, they must be served with a Certificate of Service of Legal Papers Other than Original Process.
  • By Waiver – A defendant may also sign a waiver stating that they consent to the entry of the final decree of divorce or an order approving grounds for divorce.

Response and Service to Active Duty Military Members

Divorce proceedings in Pennsylvania may be postponed for the entire time an active service member is on duty and for 60 days thereafter. They still must be served and given a chance to respond to divorce complaints; however, the divorce process may take much longer.

Service to an active duty military member must be made personally with a summons and copy of the divorce action. If the divorce is uncontested, the spouse may not have to be served as long as they sign and file a waiver affidavit acknowledging the divorce action.

Contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC For Help Responding to a Divorce

Divorce is difficult, and you are likely already emotionally compromised. You shouldn’t have to deal with the stress of responding to legal documents and managing a divorce lawsuit. Call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 or use our online contact form today.