Getting a Divorce Action Started
Going through a divorce can be a difficult process. Many clients have not considered the implications of filing for divorce on their daily life. This guide is to help individuals navigate the divorce process.
How to prepare for the initial consultation with an attorney.1. It is always best to be prepared when meeting with a divorce attorney. I recommend making a list of questions or topic areas that are most critical. Every client has his or her own concerns, therefore arriving at the first meeting prepared to ask questions will help the attorney to focus on those concerns that are most important.
2. It is helpful to provide to the attorney with financial records at the time of the first consultation so that it will be easier for the attorney to answer your questions thoroughly and to assist you with the divorce process. While there will be opportunities to gather financial records throughout the divorce process, the formal discovery process can take months and cause unnecessary delays.
3. At the conclusion of the consultation, an attorney will discuss their fee arrangement. Expect that most family law attorneys work on an hourly basis and will require an initial retainer which will vary depending on the complexity of the case.
4. It is important that the client feel comfortable and confident in the attorney they choose. The client may wish to meet with more than one attorney before making a decision as to who should represent them.
Filing for Divorce1. In Pennsylvania, a divorce action is begun by filing a Divorce Complaint. The Complaint can include various economic claims relating to the division of assets/liabilities as well as support/alimony and other financial claims.
2. Once begun, the divorce process can move swiftly or slowly, depending on the level of cooperation between the parties and the need for the Court to intervene at time in the process. The Court does not schedule any immediate hearing, but rather, there is an expectation that the parties will attempt to resolve the case without the need for Court involvement.
3. Many times, there are issues which require immediate attention, and either party may file Petitions with the Court which will allow the parties more immediate access to the Court to address such issues promptly.
4. If ultimately, the parties are unable to resolve the divorce through negotiation, a party can request the Court to appoint a Master to move the case forward to conclusion assuming that the grounds for divorce have been established.
5. A divorce Master, once appointed, becomes tasked with making the determination as to division of assets and any other economic claims that have been filed by either party.