Getting a divorce in Pittsburgh, including Pennsylvania update

Getting a divorce in Pittsburgh, including Pennsylvania update

Includes updated, statewide and local links for help with domestic violence


Those of you in the Allegheny County area, which includes Pittsburgh, may have a bone to pick with me. In “Getting a Divorce in Pennsylvania,” I posted about some parameters that remain true. (Besides that article, also see the follow-up, “Divorce in Pennsylvania“; between the two, you can get a good overview of the basics of divorce law in the state.)

Role of the attorney: a resource for counseling

However, by suggesting that anyone considering divorce might want to find a counselor before visiting with a trained, experienced divorce attorney, I overlooked an obvious, better idea: namely, a good attorney with a solid network just might be the best person to ask for a referral to a professional counselor. Either way, the idea of signing up for counseling remains a good idea: many people report profound grief over divorce, even when both parties realize the relationship has run its course and are in agreement for an amicable, uncontested action.

Addressing domestic violence

I also failed to mention that family experts and legal authorities advise to urgently address domestic violence if it is part of the home life. Once again, an experienced attorney can be invaluable–not only for helping with protective and restraining orders but also for help in formulating an escape plan and securing shelter for the abused spouse and any children or pets that could be the target of an abuser’s rage once the other spouse leaves.

Accordingly, following are some state-level and some local, online resources for residents of Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh area, in particular:

Pennsylvania resources

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence;

A.A.R.D.V.A.R.C.’s page, Pennsylvania: Domestic Violence Resources;

The Philadelphia Courts;

Pennsylvania Office of Victim’s Advocate.

Pittsburgh & Allegheny County

Allegheny County District Attorney’s Domestic violence page;

Allegheny County, Department of Human Services;

Neighborhood Legal Services Association;

Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, Allegheny County & Local Rules

The Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, County of Allegheny (civil division) provides its local rules; according to rules about filing the initial paperwork, “All divorce and annulment complaints [including answers, counterclaims and other petitions] shall be filed and the filing fee paid in the  Prothonotary’s Office, 1st Floor, City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, where they will be assigned a docket number. The number given to the divorce will also be assigned to any other claim contained in the divorce complaint or other pleadings subsequently filed in this action. If there is a prior action between the parties, the case shall be docketed in conformity with Local Rule 1930(f).”

Note: Continued in Part 2: “Getting a divorce in Pittsburgh.”

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