Many Pennsylvania couples who have decided to divorce – whether they have been married only a few years or for decades – are loathe to enter into a divorce process which contains drama and fighting, especially when they have endured years of drama and fighting in the marriage leading to the divorce, and they simply want the conflict to end.
A common mistake, however, that people entering into divorce make is thinking that: 1) having an attorney counsel them on their rights and represent them in obtaining the divorce will somehow create a fighting atmosphere that did not previously exist; and 2) somehow they will be better off without having a family law professional advise them on their best options and strategies for protecting their rights under the law.
But what about situations in which “we agree on everything” in a Pennsylvania divorce? Surely, you don’t need a lawyer in such a case, right? Not necessarily.
Are You Fully Informed on All in the Issues in Your Divorce in Light of PA Law?
There is a huge difference between “consent” between two parties on the issues in a divorce and “informed consent” on those issues.
Do you understand what you are entitled to under PA law with regard to issues in your divorce, including:
- How much alimony you are entitled to receive, and for how long?
- What alimony you may be obligated to pay?
- How every piece of property that you and your spouse own should be divided, including retirement funds, future pension benefits, business ownership interests, and real estate holdings?
- The difference between marital property and separate property, and how the concept of equitable distribution affects those various forms of property?
- How your debts (including student loan and credit card debt) should be divided in a divorce?
- What custody and visitation rights you have to your children?
- How custody/visitation plans and schedules should work?
- How much child support you are entitled or obligated to pay or receive?
- How custody and visitation schedules should affect child support amounts?
Agreement is a great thing, and every couple should strive for that outcome, but you should not agree to a divorce settlement of these issues without being informed of what exactly your rights are under the law first.
Protecting Your Rights Does Not Mean You Have to “Fight”
Following from the previous point, having an attorney advise you of your rights – and then take the next step of asserting those rights by working towards a settlement agreement that protects those rights – should not be considered “fighting” but rather making the effort to take proper care of yourself and your children as you move to the next chapter of your life.
This is no different than having an attorney advise you on any large transaction you might enter into, whether it be an employment agreement or buying a house. If your partner does not like you taking the time to understand your rights and look out for your future, then the “fighting” problem is with him or her, not you.
Having an Attorney Assist Can Prevent Unnecessary Fights and Delay
Furthermore, working with an attorney can actually help you avoid fights in many cases. Pennsylvania divorce law is clear in many respects on the rights and obligations of both parties, and so a clear understanding of the law by both parties can lead to agreement far more quickly than when two parties who are ignorant of the law (or have a dangerously vague or ill-informed view of the law based on anecdotal evidence, what they have seen in TV or movies, etc.) try to work out issues amongst themselves.
In addition, the procedure for obtaining a divorce does involve going to PA state court, and will necessitate multiple court filings. Thus, having an experienced family law attorney committed to your best outcome can help you avoid filing and courtroom mistakes which only delay your case and potentially lead to more drama and infighting.
Get Help With Your PA Family Law Matter Today
At The Martin Law Firm, P.C., our family law team works with men and women across Southeastern Pennsylvania in family law matters – including property distribution, alimony, child custody, and visitation – and we are committed to serving your needs in a compassionate and efficient manner. Call us today for a no-hassle consultation regarding any questions you have about divorce in Pennsylvania.