Why you need an attorney when getting divorced in Pennsylvania

Divorcing Pennsylvania spouses should always have individual legal representation, even when a divorce is amicable.

The decision to get a divorce in Pennsylvania is rarely arrived at easily. Sometimes both spouses agree that a divorce is the best course of action and they may even agree at a high level on many of the particulars of the divorce. However, making sure a divorce is approached properly is about far more than simply who gets the crystal and who gets which vehicle.

When the time comes to get down to brass tacks on a property division settlement, there are many nuances that can have a serious and long-lasting impact on a person's financial situation. For these, the help of an experienced attorney is always recommended.

The cost of keeping the house

Many people, especially women, feel an emotional tug to retain their family homes. While this is understandable, a divorce is a time to make intellectual not emotional decisions. Forbes indicates that the full cost of home ownership must be properly considered before this decision is made. An attorney can guide spouses through this.

In addition to calculating mortgage, insurance, taxes, maintenance and repairs in the equation, people should consider what the ultimate cost of selling a home could be one day. It is possible that the market may not allow this when it is desired. It is also possible that capital gains taxes could be extremely high, reducing the ultimate amount received from the sale. In short, keeping the home is a risky move.

Consider all assets before making decisions

Reviewing the costs of home ownership is only one piece of the puzzle. All assets in the marital estate must be considered as a whole. A lawyer can help people do this and then identify which assets may be better for them to keep or obtain in the divorce.

Examples of assets that should be factored in are retirement accounts and social security benefits. Of important note is that not all retirement accounts are created equal. It may be more beneficial to get part of an account funded with pre-tax dollars to avoid paying additional taxes later on. Or, if it is appropriate to split a 401(K), the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order will be important. The QDRO can help people prevent paying unnecessary taxes and penalties when used properly.

Divorce and financial challenges

Money is a common factor in the breakdown of marriages and many people end up needing to file for bankruptcy. Depending upon the circumstances and the type of bankruptcy plan, this may be better done before or after a divorce has happened. A lawyer can evaluate this situation with people to ensure the right choice is made.

Get help at the start of a divorce

The best time for a Pennsylvania spouse to reach out to a lawyer for help with a divorce is as soon as a divorce is considered. With many important decisions to be made, getting help from a professional sooner rather than later is always better.


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