David Rasner a partner in our Philadelphia office and Co-Chair of the firm;s Family Law practice group, wrote an excellent post entitled "Pre-Divorce Planning" on the firm’s Pennsylvania Family Law blog.
The post addresses selecting a lawyer, gathering documents, understanding your finances, determining your goals and priorities, compiling a list of questions to ask at the initial interview, etc.
To read the full text of David’s Blog entry, click here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I like to tell people to gather and make copies of all of the relevant documents they can find (for example tax returns, bank records, credit card records, investment and retirement account records, records regarding major asset purchases, business records if a spouse owns a business), Once they have the copies, the originals should be returned and the copies kept off site. It is not unusual for documents to "disappear" once a divorce becomes imminent.
Similarly, despite the obvious and mounting tension, this is the time to ratchet down the angry interactions with the other spouse. The reason for this is that one of the first questions that is often asked at a consultation is how can I get my spouse to move out. The answer is typically that unless there is domestic violence, you cannot remove a spouse. Many people often abuse the domestic violence laws, claiming harassment (where it didn’t really occur or was just an argument), to get the other party out of the house. I often advise people to avoid confrontations, to not raise their voice and to retreat. A person may also want to purchase a digital recorder to protect themselves from a false claim of harassment. ERIC SOLOTOFF