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4 Things To Think About When Considering Divorce

1. Is it fault or no-fault? In some states, you have the option of filing for a no-fault or a fault-based divorce. With a no-fault divorce, you're saying that neither party is at fault; you're saying that the marriage has broken down and cannot be repaired. A no-fault divorce with mutual consent takes approximately six months, although the specifics vary if you have substantial assets to divide or cannot agree on custody and visitation.

In a fault-based divorce, one spouse claims that the other is at fault, meaning that the divorce is the result of poor treatment by one spouse or participation in specific activities that constitute fault. Claiming fault is typically a tactic used when one spouse wants the divorce and the other does not, or when one spouse is angling for alimony. Marital misconduct is one of the factors judges consider when awarding alimony.

2. Will it be a contested or uncontested divorce? Another important factor in your divorce is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. When your divorce is uncontested, both parties agree to the divorce and to work out terms. If you aren't able to work out settlement terms with your ex, you'll need arbitration, mediation, or the skills of a divorce attorney to resolve terms. It is an uncontested divorce so long as the court doesn't have to step in and make a ruling. Uncontested divorces move more quickly through the court system and are typically less expensive than contested divorces.

In a contested divorce, you or your ex denies the grounds of the divorce, or you can't agree on the terms of the divorce. A fault-based divorce may be also contested by the spouse accused of fault. A contested divorce is a lengthy process involving numerous steps:
  • Preparing, filing, and serving divorce paperwork.
  • Discovery, when you gather information via written questions, subpoenas, and depositions.
  • Pre-trial motions and hearings to resolve any points of legal dispute.
  • Settlement proposals and negotiations between your attorneys.
  • Trial if you can't agree on settlement terms.
  • Judge's decision.
  • Appeal if you don't agree with the judge's decision.

A contested divorce can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and can take more than a year, particularly if one of the parties appeals and begins a new round of legal process.

3. What are the residency requirements? There are residency requirements to file for divorce. To be eligible to file for divorce, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for the six months prior to filing to divorce. If you don't meet the residency requirement, you must wait to file or file in your former jurisdiction.

4. What is your plan to divide and negotiate the following in the divorce?
  • Child custody. 
  • Child support.
  • Marital assets.
  • Real estate and other real property.
  • Physical belongings.
  • Spousal support (alimony).

It's critical to work with a good divorce attorney when you or your spouse makes the decision to divorce. Even if your divorce is amicable, it is an emotional process and you may not clearly consider all factors that go into a divorce. If you and your spouse disagree, you need a good attorney on your side to protect your interests.

What To Do Next:
Experiencing a family law issue can be stressful and overwhelming. Knowledgeable family attorneys do much more than represent clients, they understand how choices made in the legal process can drastically affect life afterwards.

If someone you know is struggling with a family law issue let them know that a No Hassle Family Law Strategy Session can give them the peace of mind, clarity and guidance needed to achieve a stable, secure and happy future.

What's more, if I'm not the right attorney to solve their problem, I'll point them in the right direction. Feel free to forward this email to anyone you feel may benefit from the information in it, or have them call my office at 215-572-0700 to schedule a time to figure out the best strategy toward their new life.

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Law Offices of Catherine Cardozo, LLC
1147 Easton Rd.
Abington, PA 19001

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