Having doubts about a relationship with another is a perplexing matter. Do I reach out now to a family lawyer, even if I haven’t decided to move in a particular direction, or, do I wait until after I have decided?
This is a good and difficult question, and there is not necessarily a correct answer. In our view, knowledge is power. Even if a person hasn’t decided to take action, being armed with knowledge of your legal rights and obligations can resolve lingering questions and doubts of what “action” would look like. Our firm offers a no-cost first consultation. Contacting us and advising “I’m not sure what I am going to do”, is a perfectly acceptable beginning to our discussion.
- CONSIDERING DIVORCE: In beginning our discussion, I will tell you Pennsylvania is a no-fault state. That means that whether your spouse cheated on you, didn’t earn as much as you, spent the money earned differently than you, was abusive to you and other issues of “fault” are not considered by the court in Pennsylvania, in a divorce action. People are often surprised by that. Knowing how property is divided may be important to you. Is your case a case in which alimony would be paid; how long is it paid and in what amount? Is support available for a spouse before you are divorced?
- CONSIDERING LITIGATING CHILD CUSTODY: What are the types of custody in Pennsylvania? Can I get sole legal custody? What is shared physical custody? What if I am concerned with the other parent having any custody at all? Is a person’s criminal past considered by the court, in developing a custody schedule? What if the other party was abusive to me or the children? If I have a Protection from Abuse Order, how do I complete custody exchanges? What if the other party’s boyfriend or girlfriend threatens me at custody exchanges? Can I just move out of the house and take the kids? These are a small sample of what you might be thinking.
- CONSIDERING CHILD SUPPORT LITIGATION: Am I entitled to child support? How much would I get? How is child support calculated in Pennsylvania? If I move out of our marital house, do I still have to contribute to bills for the marital house? How long does a child support obligation last? If the other parent and I earn the same amount of money, am I entitled to child support? Does my ex have to contribute to our child’s college education? Can I keep my child in private high school after we separate? How is that paid for?
- I ALREADY HAVE A DIVORCE DECREE, BUT THE OTHER PARTY ISN’T FOLLOWING IT: What if my ex-spouse is supposed to share his or her 401K with me, but he or she just refuses to do so? Will the court force my ex-spouse to do so? Who will pay my legal fees to force this issue? What if my spouse has moved outside of Pennsylvania and simply has stopped responding to my attempts to communicate about this?
Our lawyers have been representing clients for decades on these and many other questions. Getting answers to these questions will help you move your process along. Remember, divorce and these other issues are not like fine wine; they don’t get better with age.