Call in the Cavalry: 6 Reasons You Need An Attorney For Your Pennsylvania Divorce
So, here you are… you’re considering getting divorced in Pennsylvania. How’d you get here? When you put on that tuxedo or wedding dress years ago, I’m sure this isn’t how you expected your “happily ever after” to end. Well, no worries, because you certainly aren’t alone – nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce. The question now is: how are you going to finance this new part of your life? Should you cut corners and try to do all the legal legwork yourself? Should you skip hiring a Pittsburgh Family Law Attorney? Good questions, future divorced readers. It IS possible to complete a Pennsylvania divorce without a lawyer – and for some spouses, this makes financial sense! For instance, if you and your spouse are able to work through problems harmoniously and agree on every issue, then save money and handle everything yourself. However, if the only thing you and your spouse can agree on is that you both would rather be forcefully ripping off your own toenails than being in the same room with each other, it’s probably time to call in the cavalry – i.e. a family law attorney… e.g. Darbouze Law Group.
Okay. So, if ripping off toenails is a little too extreme, here are 6 situations when hiring a family law attorney is really important:
- If you and your spouse own property that you care about seeing again.
You were married. Even if it was only for 25 minutes, you probably bought at least one bed sheet set together, or maybe you even opened a credit card that now has a balance. In order to equitably divide these assets and debts, the court considers many factors. Some of which being: when were the bed sheets purchased? When was the credit card opened? Was the credit card used to accrue debt in order for you or your spouse to further education? Because of this new education, did you or your spouse benefit from a salary increase? Initially, it may seem like a 50/50 division is fair, however, you may be entitled to a larger portion of the marital estate! That’s why, if you have property you care about, having a Pennsylvania family law attorney or Pennsylvania divorce attorney is vital.
- If you thought you were smart by putting assets only in your name.
First, I’d like to congratulate you on being someone who thinks ahead. Second, I’d like to disappoint you by saying that you aren’t THAT smart. It doesn’t matter if the new car or house is only in your name – if it was purchased during the marriage, 9.9 times out of 10 it is going to be considered marital property. Meaning, your spouse is entitled to ½ of the value of whatever you put your name on. New Volvo only in your name? Half to your ungrateful spouse. New mansion in Cranberry, PA only in your name? Half to your unappreciative spouse. There are some arguments that can be made about how your spouse is not entitled to what you worked so hard for, but, without an attorney, many of these arguments are lost. Don’t be that guy (or gal) who has to lose their assets all because they didn’t hire an attorney… just don’t.
- If neither of you can agree on the date of separation.
You may be thinking, “What the heck is a date of separation, Nialyn?” Good question. Date of separation in Pennsylvania refers to the date that you and your spouse began living “separate and apart.” This could be the date one of you moved out of the marital residence or the date you began sleeping in separate beds. Quite frankly, there is no bright line rule for what constitutes a date of separation. However, if you can’t agree on a date, you definitely need some experienced help. Which date you pick can have drastic effects on financial aspects of your case. So, call an attorney, mkay?
- If your spouse has an attorney.
Sometimes clients come to us, months into their divorce case, and say, “my spouse’s attorney told me that one attorney could complete the process for both of us…” Well. Sure. That CAN happen. But, think about it this way. Your spouse’s attorney is REQUIRED by the Pennsylvania Rules of Ethics to advocate zealously – which just means fight really hard – for his or her client. If your spouse hired the attorney, then you are not the client. Your spouse is the client. Therefore, any paperwork that is prepared by the attorney, any court hearings that the attorney attends, any ANYTHING that the attorney does, the attorney is representing the best interests of his or her client. Which is your spouse. Which isn’t you. Catch my drift? The attorney works for the client, and because that isn’t you, you may end up getting the short end of the sneaky stick. We highly recommend that, in a Pennsylvania divorce, each party obtain independent legal counsel. Highly. Recommend.
- If you think your spouse really isn’t sneaky.
Divorce brings out the sneaky in people. Heck, if you knew what you know now about your spouse, you wouldn’t have married him or her in the first place, am I right? All too often spouses conveniently “forget” to transfer title or turn in necessary paperwork that gives the other spouse some financial benefit. Just imagine trying to sell your home, 10 years after a divorce, only to find out you aren’t the owner – talk about infuriating. Infuriating and preventable. Hire an attorney. Don’t take the risk.
- If you think you can’t afford an attorney.
Just a quick Google search will reveal lots of “quickie” divorces. These are often appealing because they are cheap and, at the end of the day, you are divorced. HOWEVER, what these “quickies” forget to tell you is that many claims – such as alimony – are lost if not raised prior to the entry of a divorce decree. These additional claims can add up to thousands in money and/or assets for you, and if you consult an attorney too late, all of that is gone forever. Much of the time legal fees pay for themselves just by the amount of additional assets and money the attorney is able to obtain on your behalf.
We understand that making a decision to hire an attorney is a big one. At Darbouze Law Group, we are committed to handling your case with care, diligence, and finesse. Take a step in the right direction by giving us a call today. Once you hire us, we’ll even help you bandage your ripped off toenails.
… okay … no we won’t.
*Our office accepts Pennsylvania family law cases including divorce, equitable distribution, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, alimony, paternity and child support matters, child custody cases, juvenile law cases, and related matters in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Beaver County, Berks County, Butler County, Clearfield County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County (Greensburg).
Our law firm accepts Pennsylvania family law cases from other Pennsylvania counties including Armstrong County (Kittanning), Clarion County, Fayette County, Greene County, Indiana County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Somerset County, and Venango County.*