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Getting Divorced in Pennsylvania? Important Items to Consider

The process of divorce can be an extremely challenging time for many families. It can be extremely tempting for those involved in a highly-contested divorce to simply want to just get the divorce over with, and sign off on any settlements that are proposed.

However, once your divorce is finalized, it can be difficult to have any agreements changed without a court order. Some decisions, such as property division, cannot be modified after entered, so it is crucial to understand the impact of the choices that you are making. Child custody and support issues will also need approval by the court before they can be changed.

Perhaps the most challenging issue concerning property will involve the marital home. Since home values have declined substantially over the past decade, many couples owe more than their homes are worth. Instead of fighting over who gets to remain in the home, many couples fight about who gets to leave. Finding a way to divide any remaining mortgage debt will need to be determined at the time of the divorce, and this can get complicated.

Couples will also want to consider the tax implications of their divorce in their settlement agreement. Certain support payments may be considered as income, which will have an impact on a person's taxes. The division of debt may also add to the income of one party, so it will be important to work with an experienced attorney to understand the consequences of any divorce settlement.

Once the divorce is final, there are other important items that will need to be addressed. After a divorce, one of the first things a person should do is make changes to any existing estate planning documents that they have. This is especially important for people who have been married several times. Without making these changes, it is possible that your ex-spouse or your former step-children could receive your property if you pass away.

Source: Huffington Post "How To Handle Important Paperwork Before And After Divorce" Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl and Tish Rabe, Jan. 25, 2012.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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