No matter how much we love our partners when we get married, there’s always a chance that our union will end in divorce. And, whether this split is mostly amicable or if it’s fraught with disagreement, there are specific things to consider before filing for divorce that you’ll want to know. Preparing for divorce takes a considerable amount of time and attention, and many people find it easiest to work with a family law attorney who can walk them through the process. If you’re in the Pottstown, Pennsylvania area or anywhere throughout Montgomery and Chester counties, contact our office, Cohen & Patel Law Firm, LLC, to connect with an experienced attorney.
Things to Consider Before Filing for Divorce
Deciding to file for divorce is a big step and one that shouldn’t be done without sufficient forethought. Before taking legal action, you may want to consider going to counseling to see if there’s any way you can reconcile differences with your spouse. If this isn’t an option, you’ll want to get a good idea of what kind of divorce you’ll be pursuing, whether you believe it will be contested, mostly collaborative, or whether both partners are open to working with a licensed mediator. Having a clear idea of this ahead of time will help you prepare for the future process. Lastly, you’ll need to think about practical issues, such as what the living situation will look like as you work through your divorce. Will you continue to live together? Is there a separate area of your home where one spouse can reside? Will one of you move out? Who will take care of the children during this time?
Steps to Take to Prepare for the Divorce Process
Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Possibly the most important of the steps to take when getting divorced is hiring a competent divorce attorney, and this should be someone with experience that you feel comfortable speaking with. You will need to disclose any personal details of your relationship and finances, and you’ll need someone you trust to always look out for your best interests.
Secure Assets and Accounts
In almost all divorces, you’ll need to divide your joint assets in some way and this can often be highly contested. It can be helpful to make copies of important documents that way you have an accurate record of your personal and marital finances when the divorce proceedings began. You may also wish to cancel joint accounts, change your personal passwords, and ensure you have access to any other accounts, including retirement funds, life insurance policies, or other investments.
Gather Personal Information
Your attorney will need personal information about you and your spouse. This should include information like proof of residency, employment information (including name and contact of the employer, length of employment, and salary and income details), birth dates, and social security numbers. You will also need to provide details about your marriage, such as when and where you were married, copies of your marriage certificate, the reason for the divorce, and in some cases how long you cohabited together before you were legally married.
Assess Financial Situation
Asset division is one of the biggest tasks in a divorce, and in Pennsylvania, assets are to be divided equitably and not necessarily 50/50. This means you’ll have to provide detailed information on all your assets and debts, decide which of these are considered jointly owned and which are separate, and have a clear idea of what you have and what you will need going forward.
Identify Personal/Married Property
Marital property is often considered to be any assets that were acquired after the marriage took place. In most cases, this includes assets that were purchased by the couple together (for example, if both names are on the deed to a house or the title to a car), but it can also include property that’s only under the name of one spouse. Assets that were acquired before the marriage are usually considered separate property, but even this can be interpreted in different ways. For instance, if one spouse owned a home before the marriage, but then the couple moved into the home together and shared the responsibility of paying the mortgage and contributing to its upkeep, this could now be considered joint property by a judge. It’s essential to provide as much documentation on this as possible, including receipts, account statements, or pertinent dates surrounding when and how much money was contributed toward joint assets.
Skilled Counsel at Every Stage
If you’ve only just begun your divorce, the amount of work you have to do may seem overwhelming, but hiring the right divorce attorney in Pennsylvania can be a lot less stressful. At our firm, Cohen & Patel Law Firm, LLC, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, we are committed to meeting our clients where they’re at and providing comprehensive and personalized legal service to everyone. Call us today to get started.