Steps to Take before Filing for Divorce in PA
Once you have made the decision to end your marriage, you may want to file your divorce petition as soon as possible so you can finalize your divorce and move on with your life quickly. However, before you file for divorce, it is important that you take certain steps to protect yourself, as your spouse may not react well when you break the news.
It is better to be proactive in these situations, and having your affairs in order is one of the best things you can do when you are ready to divorce. Continue reading to learn more about the steps you should take before filing for divorce in Pennsylvania.
Make Sure You Meet the Residency Requirements
The very first step to take before you file for divorce in PA is to make sure that you meet the residency requirements. In order to file for divorce in Pennsylvania, you will need to be considered a “bona fide resident,” which means you have lived in Pennsylvania for at least six months prior to the divorce and had intentions of remaining a PA resident.
Know Your Separation Date
Pennsylvania does not recognize legal separations, but the date that you and your spouse began living life separately can have a significant impact on the equitable distribution process and spousal support discussions. Keep a note of this date in writing before you file for divorce.
What Are Your Grounds for Divorce?
In order to obtain a PA divorce, you need to have grounds. They can be fault-based or no-fault based, though most spouses will opt to seek a no-fault divorce, as they are usually less expensive and can allow you to finalize your divorce much more quickly.
Have a Child Custody Plan
If you have children with your spouse, it is best to have a child custody plan already set up before you divorce, when possible. Unfortunately, children are often used as pawns in volatile divorces, and if you already have a plan in action, say through a prenup agreement, your children cannot be used against you when you file for divorce.
Organize Your Finances
The division of your marital property and assets is an integral part of the divorce process. Before you file, make sure your finances are in order. If you have not already, open up a bank account in just your name and stop using your marital bank accounts. However, you should not attempt to take or hide money, as this will be looked poorly upon by the judge.
Figure Out Your Living Situation
The last thing you should do before you file for divorce is to figure out what your living arrangements will be. Some spouses have no other choice than to remain living together, but if you can find alternate housing or are planning on your spouse finding alternate housing, that should be discussed with your attorney prior to filing your PA divorce petition.
Meet with a Qualified PA Divorce Lawyer
Before you take the leap and file your Pennsylvania divorce petition, meet with a highly qualified PA divorce lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. When you are ready to file for divorce but want to protect your best interests, schedule your initial consultation at our office.
You can give us a call at 1-844-VARI-LAW (827-4529) or fill out the online contact form we have provided at the bottom of this page.