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The options available to those considering a divorce

Spouses going through divorce in Pennsylvania can go to court or use other options to avoid litigation. Selecting a particular procedure depends on the trust that spouses have in each other, as well as the intricacies of their case.

Litigation involves couples hiring their own attorney and going to court. Here, a judge makes the final decisions on property division, child and spousal support, and custody arrangements. This option is often used by couples who have little trust in one another and are unable to negotiate their own resolution of divorce issues. They must accept the judge's decision even if they disagree with it.

In mediation, on the other hand, a neutral party assists couples with settling these issues and relies on their self-determination. The mediator can help identify issues and provide potential legal solutions.

In a collaborative law divorce, each spouse attends a session with professionals who help guide the couple through the divorce process. Each spouse is represented by their own attorney, but mental health and financial professionals can provide advice on how to work through communication problems between the couple and how to make decisions that are best for their children.

Divorces with higher level of trust and lower complexity are more likely to be resolved through mediation or collaboration. Those with less trust and more complexity may need to go through litigation.

Trust amongst a couple requires that they understand their joint finances, are transparent about their assets and debts, and are not concerned that the other spouse is withholding this information. It is worth noting that for property division purposes, spouses do not have to know the exact amounts of their soon-to-be former spouse's accounts if they know the identity of all the accounts.

A spouse also must assess whether the other spouse can be a responsible co-parent to their children. They determine whether they can trust the other parent to make decisions on the behalf of the children and work with their doctors and teachers. Based on the outcome of this assessment, an individual can make appropriate legal decisions regarding child custody and visitation.

The complexity of a divorce case also affects whether it goes to litigation, mediation, or collaboration. Couples receiving income only from their jobs are usually in a less complex situation, although this is not always the case. Spouses who are self-employed, involved in intellectual property matters, or international businesses often face more complex financial matters.

Source: Your Tango, "What's the best type of divorce for you? Just ask yourself 2 easy questions," by Kevin J. Chroman, Esq., Dec. 15, 2017

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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.
20120 Route 19, Suite 208
Gigliotti Plaza
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Phone: 724-935-0820
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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.