6 Things to Consider Before Filing for Divorce
When we first meet a potential new client who is considering filing for divorce, we try to get to the root of exactly what’s going on and why they are in our office. For the most part, if you find yourself sitting across from a divorce attorney, you have already done a lot of thinking. If you’re considering filing for divorce, read through these six concerns and get the full picture of where you and your spouse stand in the divorce process.
1. Your head and your heart
There is no denying that marriage and relationships are very emotional. But really think on what has led you to this point. Is this decision in response to a specific event or occurrence? Have you sought therapy or mediation for your feelings on that situation? Are you feeling spiteful, vengeful, or looking to retaliate? Oddly, some find themselves filing for divorce to prove their love for one another. That may sound unusual, but many couples latently seek the attention and use divorce as a tool to manipulate the other spouse into fighting for their marriage. This is not common, but it’s not unheard of – it is also very costly! While many cases are mutually agreed upon, the decision to get a divorce should be made with great care for how it will affect your emotional state and if it is, in fact, what you actually want.
2. Financial Decision
Aside from paying for basic filing costs and fees, there are some dramatic changes that come with splitting a household. An experienced Doylestown divorce lawyer can help you understand what that means for your household – which expenses will still be paid by which spouse and how to get reestablished as a single person. When kids are involved, this can become much more complicated but your attorney may guide you to the child support process. Ultimately, ensuring the future security of your family’s financial stability is an investment. Preparing for a change in household income is worth thinking about while that is pending.
For couples with children, this is the main concern leading up to divorce and often keeps unhappy couples in an unhappy marriage for a long time. There is well established research on how divorce affects children across various ages. But a parent should weigh the consequences of their marriage on their children. Are the children safe in the current environment? Is it hostile? Domestic disputes that escalate in front of children create a negative environment that teaches kids the wrong way to handle relationships.
Also think about the age of your children and custody factors such as maintaining relationships with family members. When spouses continue to uphold relationships with family and each other, the children can maintain a sense of normalcy. We have more information on how to handle tough conversations about divorce as well as moving forward with your spouse as co-parents.
4. Abusive situation
If you are considering filing for divorce as a result of an abusive marriage, there are different and important concerns to discuss with your attorney. This decision may be urgent but also risky depending upon the situation, so it is important to seek professional help. For a spouse that is physically abusive and threatening, a Protection from Abuse Order may be necessary. A Doylestown divorce attorney can help evaluate and file for a PFA to protect you and your children from harm. If the children are at risk, finding a safe place to go and taking the necessary legal precautions are extremely important.
5. Already separated
If you and your spouse have separated, you will likely be facing a simpler process. Equitable distribution of assets still occurs; however, less filings take place due to the time apart. Even if you have not been able to afford moving out but haven’t been sharing a bed for two years, a 3301(d) divorce can still be filed. Other benefits to the “two-year divorce” are that most of the property has been informally divided and agreed upon. Issues can still arise, but generally the parties have established separate lives by this time.
6. Choice of Attorney
And of course, the choice of divorce lawyer can change or sway the outcome of your case. If you do not feel a sense of comfort or rapport in discussing your private life, your attorney cannot get the full picture of how to provide legal guidance. Your attorney should be practicing in the county where you wish to file which is based upon residency rules. He or she should also have a good professional track record which can be checked via the state Disciplinary Board. Another credential to check is whether or not the attorney has had a longstanding career within your county. When an attorney practices in the same county for years, there is a better rapport with officials and the firm’s staff fully understands the filing procedures which makes the office more efficient.
If you are considering filing for divorce, there are dozens of things to think about – these six items are really a starting point for a major life decision. Divorce can be intimidating, but many couples come out of it with a better understanding of themselves and maintain positive friendships with one another. Having a second chance at happiness is why many people make the ultimate decision and they rarely regret it.Call our office at (215) 693-6191 to set up a consultation with a Doylestown divorce lawyer to discuss your case.