In Pennsylvania and elsewhere, experts recommend that a spouse who is preparing to file for divorce take some preliminary steps. These actions will increase the chances for a successful transition and for fewer mistakes during the family law proceedings. One early step when marital problems first strike is to seek counseling together. Fairness to oneself and to each other demands that the marital bond be preserved if possible, and in some instances a resolution may be found through counseling.
Counseling may also benefit minor children and can help them to understand the complicated reasons why a divorce may be ultimately necessary. When communicating the breakup to children, the emphasis must be on continuity and the fact that the family unit will always exist in certain ways. Most importantly, each spouse will affirm their love for the children and reassure them of a secure future with continuity between past, present and future.
Retaining an attorney prior to filing for divorce is a necessity that will be repaid by avoiding careless mistakes that could cost dearly. Trying to make legal decisions about the division of property, for example, can backfire severely in a negotiated divorce. An experienced family law attorney will learn the facts and make a thorough evaluation, with recommendations to the client accordingly.
Prior to filing is the best time to put together a detailed list of all assets and debts in preparation for later negotiations. All financial accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance and investment assets should be included. All loans, credit cards, medical bills and other debts must be listed also. This helps one to know one's financial status, and to not make decisions or concessions based on overly optimistic expectations.
Full disclosure is necessary by both parties under Pennsylvania family law principles and procedures. Getting prepared early on is the key to going into the proceedings with a strong position and an attitude of self-confidence. An informed attorney-client relationship will maximize one's chances at obtaining a favorable overall settlement.
Source: divorcedmoms.com, "Don't File For Divorce Unless You've Done These 7 Things", Thomas G. Ferrini, Jan. 10, 2018