You and your spouse have decided that your marriage does not work and you want to get a divorce- it’s only natural to ask yourself, “do I need an attorney for an amicable divorce?” Your neighbor, who is not a divorce lawyer, tells you that he has heard that getting a divorce is simple, and provided you and your spouse both agree on the divorce, you do not need a lawyer. Before you decide to follow your neighbor's advice, you should ask yourself some questions.
Amicable Divorce Questions
Do you or your spouse own any...
- Retirement Accounts?
Or, do you have a significant amount of money in…
- Bank Accounts?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, proceeding without a divorce lawyer may prove hazardous to your wealth and may also jeopardize your legal rights.
Property Settlement Agreements
It is not unusual for clients to see me after they have signed a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) without the benefit of the advice from a divorce lawyer. Often, these clients had consciously decided to proceed without counsel because of the mistaken belief that all of the important terms of the PSA had been pre-agreed and that the client had wanted to save on counsel fees. However, what they had failed to realize was that those terms of the PSA, which they had thought were “just a bunch of legalese,” represented important legal rights that they were either foregoing or conveying outright to their spouse.
For example, a PSA often contains tax language, life insurance terms, alimony terms, and child support terms that, when added up, may impose on a spouse a requirement to pay substantial portions of the spouse’s net pay, as much as 65% or more, to the other spouse. This requirement may even be in addition to agreeing to convey substantial marital assets, like a house or bank accounts, to the opposing spouse. To compound the problem, financial terms are often accompanied by defined time periods for when they must be met, or risk the imposition of a contempt citation. Although in the right case such terms might be fair, the fact is that a spouse who enters into a PSA without the benefit of an Allentown family law attorney is essentially flying blind, placing his or her trust in the hands of the opposing spouse.
Another potential problem associated with entering into a PSA without counsel is not sufficiently being provided with a full disclosure of your spouse’s assets. Independent of the PSA, if there are children from the marriage, you should have a divorce lawyer. The lawyer will work with you in securing appropriate arrangements for the children including vacations, holiday schedules, weekend visits, health needs, religious observances and school concerns.
Talk To A Divorce Lawyer- For Free
The Allentown attorneys at Regan Law Firm provide free initial consultations, so it costs you nothing to speak confidentially with an experienced Allentown divorce lawyer about any issue you may have. To avoid financial divorce mistakes, or future custody issues, call Kevin Regan at (484) 498-6334.