How to Divorce in PA: Knowing All Your Options

By Cris Pastore, Main Line Family Law Center

The number of spouses who have successfully mediated their separations and divorces are dramatically on the rise.  This is largely because they took the time to learn the full scope of all of their options before choosing divorce mediation.  Through the following quick and dirty how to divorce comparison charts, you too can become well informed as you prepare to make this all important decision. 

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Divorce Mediation Court-Contested Divorce
Fast-takes between 3-6 months  Slow-may take 2-4 years or more
You decide your future  Courts decide your future
Affordable-costs a small fraction of a court-contested divorce  Expensive-costs $30,000-$40,000 or more
Minimal emotional impact on children  High emotional impact on children

My Healthy Divorce Mediation Program Private Mediator
fully legal binding marital settlement agreement non-enforceable memorandum of understanding
marital settlment agreement draft and divorce decree provided both not provided
affordable flat fee attorney's hourly rate ($250-$350/hour)
attorneys and other professionals specialize in divorce mediation full-time divorce mediation usually a side practice to attorney's private litigation practice


My Healthy Divorce Mediation Program Do-It-Yourself Divorce
full legal protection  no legal protection
advice and guidance from expert professionals  no advice and guidance
solid future financial plan highly risky; spouses likely to lose important property rights
balanced marital settlement agreement designed to stand the test of time  marital settlement agreement fraught with pitfalls and subject to challenge as an unenforceable document

Another way to get a setion or divorce is through a collaborative divorce. In such a divorce process, you will each retain your own counsel and both sign a document stating that neither of you will use the courts to litigate any issues that arise in your matter. Instead, you will engage in a series of four-way meetings with your respective attorneys, and many times with financial and/or parenting experts, to resolve all the outstanding financial and parenting issues in your matter.  Main Line Family Law Center offers collaborative divorce representation for clients whose spouse has already retained their own counsel and is interested in the collaborative divorce approach.


If you have any questions about divorce mediation, the My Healthy Divorce program and your options, or wish to schedule your divorce mediation consult, please contact us at (610) 410-5444.   

As always, continue to stay informed!

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About the Author

Cris Pastore, Main Line Family Law Center

Picture of Cris Pastore, Main Line Family Law Center Cris Pastore, Esq. is co-founder and managing attorney-mediator at Main Line Family Law Center, a divorce mediation firm with seven offices along the Main Line and Center City, Philadelphia. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Cris has focused exclusively on divorce mediation since 2007, when he grew increasingly frustrated by destructive nature of the court-contested divorce process. Cris has made it his personal mission to revolutionize this area of practice to preserve family relationships and help families emerge healthy and whole. Follow Cris at @healthy_divorce.

Topics: Healthy Legal Options