Most people put a lot of thought into the idea of a divorce before they actually move forward with filing the legal case. After all, a divorce is the end of a marriage that has, in many cases, lasted for years or even decades. It is understandably an emotional time, so it is also understandable for Pennsylvania residents to try to get as much information as possible about how a divorce will impact their lives.
So, what do our readers need to know before a divorce case starts? Well, for starters, try to understand all you have done to potentially “save” your marriage in the lead up to a divorce. Have you tried marriage therapy? In fact, in Pennsylvania, per statute, the court can order the parties to attend at least three (3) marriage counseling sessions with a court-appointed marriage counselor, upon the filing of a divorce complaint. A trial separation? A legal separation? In fact, in Pennsylvania, the length of such trial or legal separation matters as it relates to the type of divorce complaint filed. Open and frank conversations to address difficulties? In most cases, divorcing couples have done everything they can think of to avoid a divorce. From an emotional standpoint, people should take heart in knowing that they are not just “giving up.” You know the reasons for the divorce, and you have tried potential alternative solutions to your marriage problems. Although Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” divorce state, fault-based decisions to end a marriage, like addiction, domestic violence, or infidelity, are considerations when it comes to equitable distribution, which is the dividing of marital assets and debts, and alimony.
Next, from a legal standpoint, get prepared for the main issues that will be addressed in the divorce case: property division; alimony; child custody; and spousal and or child support (Keep in mind spousal support is different than alimony). Of course, if there are no minor children to address, a divorce can oftentimes be a bit smoother process. However, property division and alimony also cause a fair share of acrimony between divorcing spouses in Pennsylvania.
Lastly, try to visualize what your life will look life post-divorce. No, not all of your problems in life will be gone. But, for many divorcing couples, the tension and problems in the marriage were the main source of stress and emotional upheaval in the first place. In post-divorce life, you will likely be free from most of those problems.
Here at the Beroes Law Center, we offer compassionate legal help to assist you in tackling this difficult life transition.