Category Archives: Divorce Tips and Advice

Is an Inexpensive Divorce A Possibility?

The horror stories you’ve heard about divorce are absolutely true. Once-happy couples spend tens of thousands of dollars doing battle in their own version of the Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas movie “War of the Roses.” Though it’s not at all uncommon for couples to spend six figures on splitting, it’s by no means a necessity. Just as you had options when you wed, the same holds true for your divorce. It’s all a question of your priorities and how badly you want to fight. If you’re both on board with cutting through the noise and taking care of business, you can end your marriage with relative ease and much less expense.

Though there are specific steps you can take to minimize your expense, affordable divorces in Pennsylvania all start with the same key attribute: both spouses have agreed to move on as efficiently as possible. If one of the two of you is committed to making the other pay (whether financially or emotionally), you should both prepare to write big checks to your attorneys. On the other hand, if you can both be amicable and agree on the basics, you’ll end up saving a lot.

With that in mind, here are our recommendations for cutting the cost of your divorce.

  • Read up on Pennsylvania divorces. By doing a minimal amount of research you can learn the basics of the process and the various elements that need to be resolved. Not only will that set you up for substantive discussions, but it will also minimize the number of questions you’ll have for your attorneys – and cut the time that they’re going to bill you. It takes most people until after they’ve received their first legal bill to realize that every time they call their lawyer with a “quick question” or to complain about their soon-to-be-ex, the clock is running and they’re being charged.
  • Make a list of the essential elements to be resolved — equitable distribution, child custody, child support, alimony/spousal support — and then set a time to meet with each other to discuss them. Trying to hammer them all out at once may be too much depending on your personalities and other factors, but the more you can agree to before you meet with attorneys, the better off you’ll be in terms of both time and expense. The caveat to this is that the agreement you reach must be fair: If one of you dominates or bullies the other into agreeing to something unreasonable, then the other’s attorney is going to nix the whole thing.
  • When you do have questions, ask your attorney’s staff rather than your attorney. There’s a very good chance that they will have been asked the same question dozens of times before and know the answer. There’s no magic to hearing words out of your lawyer’s mouth, but there is a big price tag.
  • Stop complaining to your lawyer. Divorcing couples would be amazed if they realized how much of their legal bills are spent on complaining about their spouse – or the divorce process. If your soon-to-be-ex did something to make you crazy, or made your child cry, or acted out at a party that you both attended, your lawyer can’t change it and won’t do anything about it. The time that you spend talking about it to legal counsel is just throwing money away. Calling your friends or your siblings makes a lot more sense.

If you let your attorney know that you’re both interested in saving money on the divorce, they will be happy to accommodate your wishes and tell you exactly what to do to make that happen. They may recommend a mediator or give you a list of questions to discuss on your own so that you can resolve the big issues yourselves. The more things you can agree to, the less chance that you’ll end up in court, which is where the really big money gets spent.

For more guidance on navigating divorce, contact us today to set up a time to discuss your situation.

Residency Requirement for Divorce in Pennsylvania

In most parts of the United States, people cannot move to a new state and file for divorce shortly afterwards. Instead, most states require that people meet what is called the “residency requirement” before they can file for divorce. Does Pennsylvania have a residency requirement? Yes, like most other states it does. In order to file for divorce in Pennsylvania, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing. Additionally, the spouse who files for divorce must file the papers in the court where the other spouse lives. This is not usually an issue because in many cases, the spouses live in the same county at the time of filing for divorce, but not always. If you wish to file for divorce and your spouse now lives in a different county than you, you have options. You can file for divorce:

  • In the county where you both lived while you were married providing you have lived in the same county continuously since you separated from your spouse,
  • In the county where you live as long as your spouse agrees to it, or
  • In the county where either of you currently live if neither of you still live in the county that you lived in when you were married to each other.

If you wish to file for divorce and your spouse moved out-of-state, you may file in the county where you live. Since travel can get expensive, the family courts in Pennsylvania have several filing options available so spouses can minimize the travel associated with obtaining a divorce.

No-Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania

At Cairns Law Offices, we help people obtain low-cost, no-fault divorces throughout Pennsylvania. If you and your spouse are willing to reach an agreement on matters pertaining to child custody (where applicable),property and debt division, we would be happy to help you achieve a quick, expedient divorce.

To learn more about our divorce services, contact us today!


Researchers estimate that 45 to 50% of first marriages end in divorce in the United States. For second and subsequent marriages, the divorce rate is even higher. You may ask, “Why is the divorce rate so high in the United States?”

Many experts and divorce attorneys agree that two factors play a key role in the rate of divorce: 1) women are more economically independent than ever before, and 2) divorce is socially acceptable in the 21st century.

Even though more of America’s women are college educated and financially independent than they were in the 1970s and earlier, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of spouses (men and women) put off a divorce for financial reasons and financial reasons alone. Many of our clients cited these economic reasons for putting off their divorce:

  • Afraid of losing their hard-earned assets
  • Afraid they can’t afford to pay child and/or spousal support
  • Afraid of giving half of their retirement to their spouse
  • Afraid of losing the marital residence
  • Afraid they can’t afford to support themselves or their family (often, stay at home moms) without their spouse’s income
  • Afraid of having to go back to work after a long hiatus
  • Don’t want to pay spousal support
  • Afraid they’ll be broke if they get a divorce
  • Afraid of being stuck with all of the marital debt

If you notice, we used the word “afraid” a lot. That’s because too many unhappy spouses put off filing for divorce because they have a lot of fear about what will happen to them financially. Most of these fears come from the unknown and not knowing much about how divorce will affect one’s finances.

Have money fears prevented you from taking the plunge?

If you’re in an unsatisfying marriage but you’ve held on because you’re afraid of ending up penniless, we have good news for you. Pennsylvania’s divorce laws are aimed at being fair. If you can’t afford to pay spousal support, there’s a good chance the judge will not order it.

If you’ve only been married for a year or two and you’re wealthy, the judge isn’t going to divide all of your assets down the middle and give the other half to your spouse; it doesn’t work like that.

Instead, the judge will look at only the assets acquired during the marriage, and after carefully reviewing your situation, the judge will decide on a fair and equitable distribution, unless of course you and your spouse reach an agreement on your own.

If you’re headed for divorce, here are some things to start thinking about today to prepare yourself financially:

  • If you’re the lower-earning spouse, you cannot rely on spousal support because it’s not guaranteed. Start thinking about what you need to do to become financially independent and self-supporting.
  • If you’re the higher-earning spouse, start thinking about ways to increase your income. If you’re ordered to pay child and/or spousal support, you’ll probably need more income to be comfortable.
  • Focus on paying off debt and living below your means.
  • Create a post-divorce budget today.
  • Think, “What can I do to become more successful?” If going back to school or working hard for a promotion will help you out, then by all means do it.
  • Find ways to cut down on your expenses.
  • If you’re not already, start saving 10% of your income so you have a safety net.
  • If you can afford one, hire a financial advisor to help you plan for retirement as a single person.
  • Ask your divorce attorney for advice on how to protect your credit during a divorce.
  • If you’re in the dark about your finances, now is the time to get intimately familiar with them.

Divorce does not have to be the big financial blow that people fear it will be. While you’ll need to reorganize your life and your priorities, if you play your cards right, you can change your economic circumstances for the better.

One of the best ways to get started on the right foot is to agree to a mutual consent, no-fault divorce through No Contest Divorce, LLC. With our services, it’s possible to achieve a fast and cheap divorce in no time at all. To learn more about our low-cost divorce services, contact our office directly!


Instead of handling contested or litigated divorces, our firm focuses on helping spouses who are seeking an uncontested, no-fault divorce. While we may be the home of the cheap, “quickie” divorce, there’s nothing second rate about our services.

While we’re big advocates of a fast, no-fault, mutual consent divorce, we do not promote that our clients obtain a divorce without a settlement agreement. A settlement agreement is a legally-enforceable agreement between two divorcing spouses. Meaning, it will stand up in court.

The settlement agreement addresses important issues, such as what will happen to your children, who will keep what property, and who will pay which debts after the divorce is finalized.

While a divorce attorney can prepare a settlement agreement before, during, or after a divorce, we recommend that the spouses enter into a settlement agreement before the divorce is finalized.

Why Reach an agreement before the divorce is final?

Sure, you may be in a hurry to get divorced, but we don’t recommend rushing the divorce and putting the settlement agreement off “for another day.” You and your spouse may be on the same page about the divorce now, but afterwards, disagreements over property division, child custody, and debts may arise.

When you anticipate these potential setbacks before they arise and address them in a settlement agreement, you save yourself a lot of headache and frustration. You may even be saving yourself a few trips back to court (not to mention the expense) by getting it all in writing before your divorce is final.

We Prepare Settlement Agreements

As Pennsylvania no-fault divorce attorneys, one of our main services is preparing settlement agreements for our clients. We have the knowledge and experience to help you create a proposal for your spouse regarding child custody, visitation, and property distribution.

If your spouse has disagreements with one or more aspects of the proposal, or if they’d like to incorporate their suggestions, we’d be glad to go back to the drawing board and make the necessary changes until we reach an agreement that you both are satisfied with.

Even if you and your spouse have already made verbal agreements about your children and property, we’ll help draw up a written agreement so you can memorialize those agreements in a legally-enforceable legal document.

Learn more about the benefits of a settlement agreement and our low-cost divorce services by giving us a call today!


If you have decided to get a divorce, you may or may not be apprehensive about the whole process. For example, if you and your spouse have minor children together and you have acquired some marital assets, such as a nice home with a little equity, you may be nervous about child custody and property division.

When we represent clients in their divorce actions, we highly recommend that spouses create marital settlement agreements before the divorce is final. Settlement agreements can address what happens to a couple’s assets and debts, and what happens to their children.

In a standard marital settlement agreement, the couple will agree on the following:

  • Child custody
  • Visitation
  • Property division
  • Debt division
  • What will happen to the marital home
  • Spousal support (if any)
  • What will happen to a spouse’s business (if applicable)

Marital settlement agreements are very valuable tools. Why? Because they allow spouses to reach agreements on very important issues, they give the spouses clarity on what to expect, and they can help spouses avoid having to go to court later for these specific issues because they failed to do so during the divorce.

Settlement agreements put everything in writing in a legally-enforceable, legally-binding document. However, it’s important to note one key facet of these agreements – certain provisions contained within are subject to change.

If you were worried that you could never go back to court and ask for a change in child custody or support, or spousal support, you can breathe a sigh of relief because these may be changed in the future – they are not necessarily set in stone.

Family Court Judges Know That Things Change

If you are about to ask for a divorce, it’s important that you know that your life will go through a lot of changes in the next 5 to 10 years, and same goes for your children and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. For example, you could remarry and want to relocate, or your spouse may do the same.

You may lose your job, or your ex may lose theirs. If you’re paying spousal support, your ex may re-marry before your spousal support payments are supposed to end. Or, your son may dislike your ex-wife’s new husband and when he’s 14, he may want to move in with you instead.

Perhaps you’re a stay-at-home mom today, but after going back to school and getting a nursing license, you may dramatically increase your income. In that case, your ex-husband may go back to court and ask to lower your spousal support payments. Or, your ex-husband may have a $100,000 per year increase in pay, and you may want to ask the court to increase his child support obligation.

Post-Judgement Modifications

Whatever marital settlement agreement you and your spouse agree to, we want you to know that matters pertaining to child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support can be changed in the future.

Either spouse can ask the court for a post-judgement modification, however, the petitioning spouse must show the court a significant change in circumstances warrants their request for a change.

Looking for a Pennsylvania no-fault divorce lawyer? Contact No Contest Divorce, LLC today!


Are you planning on filing for divorce after the holidays? If so, you have plenty of company. Historically, January is the busiest month for divorce filings across the nation. In contrast, December is the time of year when many (but not all) couples hold off on filing for divorce so they can get through the holidays without dampening the “holiday cheer” or having to handle court documents while entertaining friends and family.

If you’re going to file for divorce after January 1st, it will help if you start preparing in the month of December. This way, once you do start the divorce process, you’ll have a lot of the legwork out of the way. Here are four tips to help get the ball rolling before the New Year:

1. Run your credit report. Contact the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and request a free copy of your credit report. Examine these printouts to see which accounts are open, how much you owe, and which accounts are “joint.” You will need this information when deciding how to divide debts. You also need to know which accounts are joint so you can put the accounts in one spouse’s name alone, or pay them off and close them. The goal is to cut the financial ties to your spouse so you can get a fresh start.

2. Copy all of the financial documents. As a part of the divorce, you’ll need to gather and make copies of all important financial documents. This includes credit card statements, medical bills, auto loans, insurance policies, mortgage papers, investments, retirement accounts, and of course tax returns.

3. Educate yourself on Pennsylvania’s divorce laws. Knowledge is power and divorce is no exception. During the month of December, take this time to research Pennsylvania’s divorce laws as they pertain to asset and debt division, spousal support, child support and child custody. We also recommend researching the difference between fault and no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania.

4. Create a post-divorce budget. The more prepared you are for divorce, the better. One way to prepare yourself is to create a post-divorce budget. Take into consideration housing, utilities, health insurance, your auto loan (where applicable), auto insurance, food, credit card bills, student loans, etc. Also, take child support and spousal support into consideration. As far as child support is concerned, will you be receiving or paying it? If so, how much? Unlike child support, spousal support is not guaranteed, but be sure to ask your divorce lawyer if spousal support will be a factor in your divorce.

Searching for a divorce attorney in Pennsylvania? To learn about our cheap divorce services, contact our firm today!


If you’re seriously contemplating a divorce, you may be afraid of the costs involved. You might have heard people say something to the effect of, “Don’t even try to negotiate your own divorce settlement. That’s what attorneys are for.”

As you think of these warnings, you begin to imagine the attorney fees rising until you begin to rationalize, “I can’t afford to get a divorce.” Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is possible to obtain a cheap, no-fault divorce in no time at all, but there’s a catch: you and your spouse need to work together to reach a fair settlement.

No Contest Divorce, LLC Encourages You to Negotiate Yourself

At No Contest Divorce, LLC, we help couples obtain cheap, no-fault divorces. Unlike other law firms, we actually encourage spouses to negotiate their own divorce settlement. This may go against conventional wisdom, but it’s proven to be a highly-effective way for couples to obtain a low-cost divorce within a short timeframe.

“Most lawyers will tell you not to even try to negotiate your own divorce settlement. That’s because lawyers believe that they can negotiate for you better than you can negotiate for yourself,” Karen Covy wrote in HuffPost. About negotiating your own divorce, Covy said, “it’s not rocket science.”

“While divorce negotiations are definitely not for everyone, negotiating even a part of your own divorce settlement can save you time and money, if you do it right!” Covy wrote. We have to agree with Covy because that’s how our clients are able to obtain a divorce for just $319, including court costs and legal fees – by being cooperative with each other until they reach a mutually-satisfying divorce settlement.

Quick tips for negotiating:

  • Educate yourself on Pennsylvania’s divorce laws so you know your rights and responsibilities under the law.
  • Understand your assets, debts and post-divorce bills before you open your mouth.
  • If you have kids, make sure you understand the law in regards to child custody and support.
  • Know what you want and ask your attorney if it’s fair.
  • Do a post-divorce budget so you understand what you need.
  • Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes, and ask them to put themselves in yours.
  • Agree to work towards a fair, mutually-acceptable agreement.
  • Be polite and respectful and treat it like a business transaction. Check your emotions at the door.
  • Know what you want, but be flexible when necessary and remain open to advice and suggestions from your spouse and your divorce attorney.

To learn more about negotiating a no-fault divorce, contact No Contest Divorce, LLC today. We are here to give you the guidance you need during this difficult time.


Divorce has this way of giving unhappy spouses a fresh start. While the first six or 12 months may be hard, it’s also a time for quiet reflection and for many, it’s a time for reinvention.

Not that people aren’t happy about who they are, but sometimes after they’ve been in an unhappy marriage, they’ve neglected to take care of themselves. They’ve spent so much time supporting the family, their spouse and taking care of the kids, they’ve forgotten all about what makes them happy.

When people are going through a divorce, often they’ll start to think about self-care and more importantly, self-improvement. They could be doing it for themselves, their children, or so they can feel good when they start dating again. A lot of times it’s all the above.

Ways to Focus on Self-Improvement

Has the possibility of divorce gotten you thinking about self-improvement? If you’re excited about focusing on yourself for a change, here’s our advice:

  • Divorce is the BEST time to get healthy and in the best shape of your life. This could include joining a gym, taking workout classes, hitting the trails, or running around a high school track. The healthier you are, the better you’ll feel.
  • If you have a junk food habit, we recommend eliminating sugar, flour, and processed foods, and eating as “clean” as possible.
  • If you haven’t read in a while, now is a great time to catch up on your reading. Select books that will nourish your soul and make you feel good.
  • Educate yourself on finances. This can include reading books that will help you gain control of your financial future.
  • Sign up for a class that you’ve always wanted to try, whether it’s cooking, yoga, kickboxing, computers, or whatever floats your boat.
  • If you’re in a dead-end job, now is a good time to sign up for a continuing education class or revaluate your career. Would an advanced degree or going to a technical school improve your situation and make you happier?
  • If you want to make new friends, get out and about. Great places to meet new people include gyms and classes at local rec centers and community colleges.
  • If you can reasonably plan a short trip or two with your kids or friends (or by yourself), do it. A trip can be a nice distraction and it may help put things in perspective as you step away from your daily box.

In reality, nobody knows you like you do. If you yearn to have a better life, what does that look like and what do you need to do to get there? Write down your goals and break down the steps that you need to take to accomplish them. Then, take action.

If anything about your marriage held you back, now is the time to visualize your dreams and make them a reality. And remember, it starts with baby steps.


For most people, divorce is a highly stressful event for several reasons. Often, one’s life is turned upside-down. They may have to find a new place to live. If they have children, they will have to figure out child custody and visitation. And on the financial front, they have to decide how to divide their marital assets and debts. It’s a lot to take in.

When people decide to divorce, they’re often in a highly emotional state and very vulnerable. As a result, they may say or do things they wouldn’t normally do. For example, a bitter and exhausted spouse may be extra sensitive about the divorce and “spill” all the sordid details of their divorce to anyone who will listen.

Usually, this practice backfires in some way, even if it’s just a matter of feeling like one said too much and they know word will spread around town through the rumor mill. Another issue, of course, is how it impacts the spouse when it gets back to him or her. If the news spread was particularly personal or embarrassing, an amicable divorce can suddenly turn ugly and that is not a good thing.

How to Break the News

Each split is different. For some couples, it’s an emotional whirlwind that ends with someone packing their bags and slamming the front door. For others, it’s a calm, calculated decision and the spouses talk every move out before going their separate ways. Then, there are other splits that are somewhere in the middle.

The circumstances around your split may determine “how” you break the news to your friends, family, and community, but still, there are some basic rules that are wise to follow regardless of your situation. That being said, here’s our advice on breaking the news of your divorce with grace:

  • If you have children together, sit them down as a couple (if possible) and break the news about the divorce to them before making it public. When you tell them, be sure to reassure them that the divorce is NOT their fault.
  • Do NOT announce your divorce publicly on social media.
  • Do NOT discuss your divorce on social media, period.
  • Do tell those who need to know first. Such people include your boss, your parents, your siblings, and your children’s teachers.
  • When you break the news to people, don’t drag your spouse through the mud. Instead, remain positive and let people know you’ve decided to go your separate ways – spare the dirty details.
  • If you’re holding in a lot of anger and resentment, you could feel inclined to pour your heart out to your associates. To avoid saying something you regret, consider seeing a professional therapist who can listen to you and keep everything confidential.

We hope you found this article helpful. If you’re interested in filing a cheap, no-fault divorce for only $319, we invite you to contact No Contest Divorce, LLC for a free consultation.