The Dos and Don’ts of the Divorce Process
When one or both parties have decided a marriage is over, hiring a knowledgeable and qualified attorney is imperative. Divorce is a complex legal process, and our attorneys will make sure your rights are protected. Understanding the nuances of family law in Pennsylvania is our focus. However, an attorney will need your help. We will ask you for a lot of information and documentation along the way. If you start thinking about some of that material now, it will help alleviate stress throughout the process. We have found during our many years of practice the list of dos and don’ts below to be very helpful for clients.
What to Do During the Divorce Process
- Hire an attorney. Retaining a highly qualified attorney is necessary to help you navigate the bumpy road ahead.
- Gather all relevant documentation. Begin assembling all important paperwork. This can include documents relating to bank accounts, retirement accounts, insurance statements, vehicle titles, loans, assets, debts, any businesses owned in part or in whole by either party, children’s school records, children’s medical records, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, employment agreements, trust accounts, residences (including vacation homes), timeshares, appraisals, credit card statements, wills, POAs, real estate, counseling records, etc. A few of these may take you some time to acquire.
- Make lists. Throughout the pending action, you will be required to complete financial disclosures. Now is a good time to make lists of all the assets you have and their values, the debts you owe, and your monthly expenses.
- Seek emotional support. Taking care of your mental and physical health is vital. Talk to therapists, family, and friends. In order to be strong for your children, you need to take care of yourself.
- Make your children a priority. Never forget that your job is to protect your children. Always look out for their best interests.
- Co-parent counseling. This will help both parents learn how to co-parent more effectively. Even if you do not believe you are the reason for the problems, co-parenting counseling will help you to better understand and work with the other parent.
- Be prepared for a resolution to take some time. . Sometimes the process will be over quickly, but sometimes the divorce process can last a considerable length of time. This is especially true given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the court docket in many jurisdictions. . There are many factors that come into play here, and many of them are unknowns at the beginning, so it is best to prepare yourself for anything.
- Understand the legal terminology. Your attorney will thoroughly review every stage of the process and explain all legal jargon to you. If you don’t understand something, say something.
- Ask a lot of questions. You have heard the old adage, “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” That has never been more true than in a divorce case. Your attorney is there to answer ALL of your questions. If you do not understand something, ask and continue asking until you do.
- Meet with your estate planning attorney. If you had an attorney draft a will, trust, power of attorney, or any other estate planning document, update that attorney on your divorce plans. Many of the documents may need to be redrafted.
- Meet with your accountant. Meeting with your accountant is especially important if you and your spouse own a business together. Divorces can have major tax implications.
- Keep copies of everything!
What Not to Do During the Divorce Process
- Don’t put your children in the middle. The divorce process is going to be difficult for your children. It is important they do not feel as if they are being put in the middle or made to choose a side.
- Explore alternative ways to resolve your divorce. Mediation, arbitration and collaborative approaches are alternatives to traditional litigation. Your attorney can explain all of these alternatives so you can choose what you believe is best for you and your situation.Don’t listen to what your friends say about their divorces. No two divorces are the same.
- Don’t start attacking your spouse on social media. Anything posted on social media may be used against in court. Additionally, you would not want your children reading anything negative you wrote about their other parent.
- Don’t believe the myths that float around. You may hear that equal physical custody means no child support. That is not necessarily true. You may hear that each party having the same income means neither party will get child support. That also is not necessarily true. Only listen to your attorney.
Contact a Pittsburgh Divorce Attorney Today
If you are thinking about getting a divorce or have already filed, now is the time to hire an experienced attorney to help you through this complicated legal procedure. Our Pittsburgh divorce attorneys at Bunde & Roberts, P.C. will give you step-by-step guidance to make sure you and your children are protected.