Pennsylvania divorce is complicated and involves major decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life. The consequences of being unprepared can be dire. Below are five issues that you need to consider before filing for a divorce in PA.
1. Your PA Legal Rights
The PA divorce process is complex and can be overwhelming for many people. A thorough knowledge of the legal processes that underlie divorce, child custody, and other family law matters can substantially ease your anxiety about your case and can help you make better, more informed decisions. Good legal counsel can help you understand issues like how child support, spousal support and alimony are calculated; what factors are taken into account for child custody determinations; and how a PA family court will likely divide your property. A good PA divorce attorney will also be able to recognize the major issues in your case, which can help you set aside petty arguments and arrive at a fair marital settlement agreement.
Never proceed to PA family court without an experienced PA divorce attorney. The issues involved in divorce, child custody and other family law cases are far too important, and the risks are far too great. Without proper knowledge of the applicable laws, you cannot make informed decisions about these extremely significant issues.
2. Your Children
Obviously, your children are a substantial concern if you are considering divorce. Once you have made a definite decision to get divorced in PA, you and your spouse must decide how to break the news to your children. It is generally best if both parents tell the children together.
Make every effort to get along with the other parent in front of your kids. It is natural for children to be emotionally torn between both parents, so it is best to present a unified parental front, especially during this tumultuous time. This will help your children cope with the situation. Stay focused on your children and their needs throughout this very stressful period of their lives.
Both parents, with the help of their respective divorce attorneys, will need to develop a parenting plan for after the divorce that describes child custody and visitation rights. If you file for divorce in Montgomery County, PA, you will also be required to attend the mandatory "Our Children First" seminar to learn about the impact of divorce on children.
3. Your Finances
You must have an understanding of your family’s financial situation if you are seriously considering going through with a divorce in PA. A detailed knowledge of your family’s finances will help you and your divorce attorney to protect your rights, so educate yourself as much as possible in this regard.
You will need to produce information regarding your income, property and debts for a PA divorce. Collect important financial paperwork such as tax returns, estate planning documents and pay stubs. Make a list of what you own, what your spouse owns, and what you own together. Be sure to include your home, cars and other personal property, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts, and insurance policies. Also list your debts and liabilities, including credit cards, student loans, etc. Your divorce attorney will need copies of all important financial documents. Gathering all of this information can take time, so if you are considering consulting a PA divorce attorney at some point within the next few months, it is in your best interest to begin developing this knowledge as soon as possible.
4. Your Living Arrangements in PA
One of the toughest decisions divorcing couples face is determining their post-divorce living arrangements. You’ll need to decide which one of you will move out of the marital home. This is an extremely important decision with many ramifications, so you should discuss it with your divorce attorney before taking any action.
Your biggest consideration should be calculating the cost of living on your own, including utilities, groceries and other bills. You must have an idea of what you will need financially to survive on your own prior to your divorce settlement negotiations. If you sense that you or your spouse will be filing for a PA divorce within the next year, it is a good idea to start budgeting now to get a feel for your living expenses.
5. Your Behavior
It is important to keep in mind that your behavior will be under scrutiny throughout the course of your divorce. Conduct yourself accordingly. Many people don’t realize the importance of good etiquette until it is too late. Behaviors that are perceived as negative or harmful can be used against you in PA divorce and child custody proceedings. This includes your spending habits, social outings and your attitude toward friends, teachers, coaches, etc. Issues such as alcoholism, excessive gambling or drug problems can seriously jeopardize custody negotiations. Be mindful of the impression you make on people, and carefully monitor things like Facebook photos that can potentially be used as evidence against you.
If you are considering filing for divorce in southeastern Pennsylvania, including Montgomery County and Bucks County, contact The Martin Law Firm to schedule an appointment with an experienced PA divorce attorney. Our experienced PA divorce attorney will evaluate the major issues involved in your case, allowing you to make an informed decision about your legal representation.
Simplify your divorce and streamline the legal process with our free PA Divorce Worksheet. Our useful Divorce Worksheet will provide you with a thorough outline of the issues involved in your PA divorce, including child custody, child support, tax matters, division of assets and satisfaction of marital debt. You'll gain valuable insight into your case, and completing the divorce worksheet prior to your initial meeting with your divorce attorney may save you valuable time and money.