You simply cannot get legal advice about how to respond to the petition here on Avvo
Check with the legal assistance agency in your county. While they're unlikely to be able to provide you with representation, many of the legal aid groups provided materials and seminars to help those going it on their own in a divorce.
Be sure to click Best Answer if you found this helpful. Disclaimer: Please note that this response does not in any way an attorney-client relationship between Kathryn L. Hilbush and the recipient. My responses are general in nature. They do not constitute legal advice. You are advised to consult an attorney regarding this and any other legal matters.
I understand that you feel that you cannot afford an attorney, but I would caution you that "Do-it-yourself divorce" can be dangerous. If you finalize the divorce before speaking with an attorney, you could waive rights that you didn't even know you were entitled to. For example, depending on the disparity in your earnings from that of your ex, you may be entitled to support (alimony pendent lite) for a period of up to two years. As a result, consenting to entry of a divorce decree right now might not be in your best financial interest. This kind of support (alimony pendente lite) is actually designed to put the lower-earning spouse on "equal footing" with the higher-earning spouse during the pendency of the divorce action and may provide just what you need to afford an attorney. Plus, depending on the complexity of your case (and/or how much can be agreed upon outside of the court system) hiring an attorney to help you navigate the divorce system may be much more affordable than you think. Lastly, many firms offer free consultations that you can utilize to get some basic questions answered, get a feel for the attorney and get a quote for a retainer. Accordingly, I would urge you to seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney before taking any further action.
An attorney-client relationship shall not be formed due to the response to the asked questions. The suggestions made are intended to inform and not advise and are based upon general statements of PA or FL laws as applicable and specific events or facts may alter the law. You should contact an experienced PA or FL family law attorney (as applicable) for specific legal advice regarding your issue.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.