When you are ready to file for divorce, your spouse may or may not be prepared for war. Working with a Pittsburgh divorce lawyer can ensure that you are not taken advantage of during your divorce.
It could not have been easy to decide to end your marriage. But when you are ready to move forward with a divorce, you will likely want it to go as smoothly and quickly as possible. Sadly, this is not always the case. Many divorces become long and drawn out when you are not able to resolve certain marital disputes.
Thankfully, with the assistance of an experienced lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. by your side, you can breathe a little easier knowing we are prepared to fight for your rights. A Pittsburgh divorce lawyer from our firm will help you through the division of your debts and assets and figure out if either party is entitled to financial support.
Your Divorce and Equitable Distribution
The biggest dispute most spouses run into when they are filing for divorce is how their assets and debts are going to be dispersed. This is known as equitable distribution. Pennsylvania is not a fifty-fifty state for equitable distribution. That means all of your property, assets, and debts do not have to be split right down the middle.
You can attempt to work with your spouse to decide who will retain which property and debts. If that is possible, the courts will not have to decide these issues for you. Note that certain items can escape the equitable distribution process. Items thought of as marital property will need to be distributed.
Some examples of these assets include:
- Money in your retirement savings plan
- Stocks and bonds
Items that may not be considered marital property should be yours to retain. They might consist of:
- An inheritance left to you prior to the marriage
- A business you own
- Real estate you purchased before your marriage
- Belongings that were not meant for your spouse
An easy way of looking at it is anything that you came into the marriage with should be yours when you choose to divorce from your spouse. This also applies to items that were purchased without the goal of furthering the marriage as a whole and debts you incurred before or during your marriage
Your Pittsburgh divorce lawyer will ensure that the assets and debts are split reasonably so you come away with the items that are truly yours.
What You Need to Know About Spousal Support
In divorces where one spouse earns more than the other one, the lesser-earning spouse may need some sort of financial support until they can land on their feet. This can be resolved in a number of ways. Alimony can be paid temporarily during the divorce proceedings It can also be paid for a certain number of years. It can even be paid permanently, if necessary.
Also, many factors determine how much, if any, spousal support will be paid. Factors to consider include both spouses’ income, costs of living, how long you were married, and both parties’ assets prior to the divorce.
Your Pittsburgh divorce attorney will fight to help you obtain the financial support you need to maintain your standard of living or ensure that your spouse does not take you for all you have in your divorce.
Apart from the question of how your marital assets will be split and whether alimony will be paid, you may also find that you and your former spouse are not able to agree about the custody and visitation of your children. Perhaps you maintain that you need to have sole custody of the kids. Or maybe you are not able to agree on where the children are going to live.
It is important that you try to come to a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children. If there is no real reason to believe that the children should not spend time with either parent, a joint physical and legal custody arrangement could be best for all involved.
This means that the children will spend equal amounts of time at both parents’ homes. And both parents will have a right to make important decisions about the children. These choices may include their religious upbringing, where they will go to school, and healthcare decisions.
When you want to make sure your parental rights are not infringed upon, you need a lawyer who is ready to fight for your rights. These details do not need to be decided before your divorce can be finalized, but it can be helpful when you just want your divorce over and done with.
Pittsburgh Divorce FAQ
There are many factors that can turn your amicable divorce into a messy one. For this reason, we have compiled some of the most common questions our clients have had about their divorces. If you have more questions, you can always reach out to our firm to discuss the details of your case.
What Happens if We Have a Prenuptial Agreement in Place?
Having a prenup in place is great for your impending divorce. A well-written prenuptial agreement will have already gone over the equitable distribution process, custody and visitation plans (if you have children), and whether one spouse is going to pay the other alimony. That is essentially the bare bones of a divorce. From here, your divorce should end rather smoothly.
Can I File for Divorce if My Spouse Is Living in Another State?
Yes, you can. As long as you meet the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Pennsylvania, it does not matter whether your spouse is living here. A divorce decree can still be issued in these cases. However, you may find that your spouse needs to meet the residency requirements if there are questions regarding the distribution of marital property or alimony.
How long does the divorce process take?
From the day you file for divorce to the day that your divorce is finalized, an uncontested divorce where both spouses are able to come to an agreement about the equitable distribution process and alimony can take as little as four months.
However, contested divorces can draw out the divorce and make it more expensive. That’s why you should do whatever you can to resolve your disputes as soon as possible.
Seek Help from a Pittsburgh Divorce Attorney
Ending a marriage is never easy. But it can be even harder when you and your soon-to-be former spouse cannot seem to agree on anything. Working through your points of contention is the best way to make sure you divorce is over and done with.
Having a highly trained Pittsburgh divorce lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. will increase your chances of having your divorce finalized much more quickly. You can give our office a call at (412) 231-9786 or fill out the online contact form below to schedule your no-obligation case review today.
Strong SupportA team of senior attorneys, junior associates, paralegals and law school clerks for full legal support throughout the process.
Complex CasesExperienced with high income, self employed professionals in complex support and equitable distribution cases.
DiverseAttorney Lisa Marie Vari is trained as a mediator and collaborative family lawyer.
ExperiencedMore than 30 years of experience practicing family law in Pennsylvania.
“Lisa herself is a very dedicated, hard working, professional and compassionate person. She is very driven to get the results you desire, but also listens to your needs and understands the difficult nature of the business.”- Pennie E.
“I've worked with this firm on more than one occasion and have nothing but HIGH PRAISE for their professionalism, expertise and knowledge.”- Rebecca H.
“I not only recommend attorney Melissa Lewis, but I guarantee once you have used her service you will look no further. She responds in an extreme timely matter, is very knowledgeable, and an extremely trustworthy person.”- Maurice B.