Should I Meet with a Lawyer before Separating from My Spouse?

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When you and your spouse have decided that you need to take a break from each other but are not ready to commit to divorce at this time, you may be wondering what your options are.

Should you just begin to live your lives separately? What will that mean for your financial obligations and child custody and support arrangements moving forward? Working with a highly trained family law attorney can be the best way to resolve these issues so that your separation goes as smoothly as possible.

PA Does Not Recognize Legal Separation

First, it is important to note that Pennsylvania does not recognize legal separations. Instead, you can enter into a civil separation arrangement, upon which you will officially be considered separated from your spouse.

Although it is often best to live apart, some families are unable to do so due to financial roadblocks, and having your civil separation can establish to the courts that you have, in fact, been separated from your spouse since the date this civil order went into effect.

This will become important should you choose to file for divorce, as you will need to be separated for a minimum of one year before the court system will grant your Pennsylvania divorce petition.

How Working with an Attorney Can Help Your Case

Though it may be tempting to try to work things out with your spouse on your own, many individuals often find that their spouse is unwilling to come to an agreement about certain aspects of the separation. This is where having an experienced attorney represent you can be of enormous assistance.

To start, you will need to work out which spouse is going to cover your mortgage, car payment, utility bills, and any other shared marital expenses. At this time, it would also be well-advised to determine which belongings and other assets the spouse who will be moving out will bring with them, where applicable.

There is likely to be the question of whether or not the lesser-earning spouse will be receiving financial support while you are separated. This point is something your attorney can help resolve to ensure that neither party is taken advantage of.

Finally, if you share children together, you will need to determine what your custody arrangement, visitation schedule, and parenting plans are going to look like for the duration of your separation. You can also try to work together to come up with a viable child support plan as per the PA child support guidelines so that your children are still taken care of financially.

Speak with a PA Family Law Lawyer

When you are ready to formally separate from your spouse, but there are many points that need to be resolved before you can successfully do so, reach out to a knowledgeable PA family law attorney at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

You can schedule your no-obligation case review today by completing the brief contact form we have included on our site or by calling our office directly at 1-844-VARI-LAW (827-4529).