The answer to this question varies with the circumstances of each divorcing couple, and often depends on how willing they are to compromise on matters like the division of assets, alimony, child support, and child custody arrangements.
Spouses who end things amicably have more options than those that do not. However, consulting a Chester County divorce lawyer is imperative if any of the following apply:
- History of spousal or child abuse
- Spouse is hiding assets or being vindictive
- Spouse has hired a lawyer
- Fear of violence or retaliation
- Significant wealth or debt
When deciding whether to hire a lawyer, remember that even if a couple splits amicably, things can go downhill rather quickly. An amicable split often turns ugly when one spouse starts dating, usurps the children’s time, or stops contributing to the family expenses.
Although it is possible for a couple to file for their own divorce, it may be advisable to consult with a mediator. In fact, no matter how friendly spouses remain after separating, divorcing couples still need to make their divorce official.
Mediators can facilitate an amicable, legal agreement regarding the issues that must be decided once a couple splits. Choosing mediation can allow the couple to make their own decisions about financial and family matters, instead of leaving their future in the hands of a judge.
Additionally, spouses may not really be aware of all the issues that need to be decided during a divorce.
For example, couples that have children will need to discuss:
- Where the child will live
- Visitation schedule
- Holiday rotations
- Child support payments
It should also be noted that opting for mediation does not necessarily mean skipping a phone call to a divorce lawyer. It is permissible to have a lawyer present during mediation, and some law firms, like Eckell Sparks, offer mediation services.
Mutual Consent Divorce
A mutual consent divorce offers couples the ability to get divorced in as little as three or four months. In order to qualify for this faster divorce process, both spouses must agree that the marriage cannot be reconciled, and consent to the divorce.
Additionally, all financial issues, such as property division and alimony, must be worked out before filing.
Although mutual consent divorce can be filed without the help of a lawyer, couples will have to be diligent about following a strict protocol that includes:
- Filing proper paperwork at the Clerk of Court’s Office
- Paying filing fees
- Attending any applicable classes
- Serving the spouse with divorce papers within 30 days
- Signing and filing various forms after 90 days
Whichever way you go, consulting with a divorce lawyer can help you decide which option represents the best process for your divorce.
Chester County Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Assist Families with Mediation and the Divorce Process
If you have questions about divorce in Pennsylvania, or would like assistance with your divorce, speak to an experienced Chester County divorce lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call 610-565-3701 today or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation.
With offices in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area, including those in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.