Frequently Asked Questions
When should I file for divorce?
You should file for divorce when you’ve identified the best, most strategic time to file. You don’t want to jump the gun on this before it’s the right time. Things to consider in filing are: financial situation, living arrangements, process options, establishing the team members. There are some times when you should file NOW, but that’s not often the case.
Best not to file if you’re attempting to manipulate the situation or get your spouse’s attention. The same holds true if you’re using it to give an ultimatum to your spouse. Both of these reasons most likely will backfire on you.
What am I entitled to?
Since a marriage is s financial partnership, you can start with you’re entitled to 50% of everything that’s been accumulated during the marriage. More specifically, from the date of marriage to the date of separation. That includes everything, assets and debts. If an asset or a debt is in your name, e.g., 401(k) and credit card, but it was established during your marriage, it’s at least 50% yours and 50% for your spouse. Often the “estate” is split in a more equitable way, but you begin with 50/50.
What about the assets I had prior to marriage?
The assets you had prior to marriage are technically yours. If you have a prenup that establishes these assets as yours, that’s even better. If you haven’t co-mingled the assets with marital money, and you can prove how much you had (with a statement), then yes, that money is yours. But if you co-mingled it with other funds, then it’s not as clear cut.
Don’t I get lots more money if there are 4 kids and I have primary custody? (Primary custody means the kids spend more than 50% of the time with one parent.)
Child support, money that is exchanged between parents, is based on a formula established by the state of Pennsylvania. Child support, unlike more other divorce issues, is formulaic. The number of children, the number of days the parents have custody, who pays child care costs and health insurance premiums are all considered when calculating child support. So the short answer is yes, child support is higher for more kids, but not that much more. You don’t receive 75% of the payor’s net income.
What about a lawyer? Any recommendations?
The attorney you choose should match the situation. Some attorneys are aggressive, soft spoken, sharks, passive, loud, soft spoken. If your spouse has chosen an attorney, it’s best to match approach to approach. You don’t want to choose a passive attorney in the suburbs if your spouse chose an aggressive attorney in the city. Don’t get “oversold” by your attorney. Expect a 50/50 distribution of assets and debts and a 50/50 sharing of the kids. If you get more, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Be very particular when choosing an attorney. Ask everyone you know who has gotten divorced. And then ask what they liked about the attorney. You’ll be a more discerning client.