• It is virtually impossible to determine how long any divorce will take. In most jurisdictions you not be able to get divorced until the issues related to all your assets and alimony are resolved. It depends on the complexity of the issues, whether assets need to be valued by third party experts, whether your spouse and/or his attorney is reasonable and realistic. You do want to get a resolution to your case as soon as possible, however, you cannot move so swiftly that you leave money on the table.
    How long does a divorce take in terms of the legal aspects?
  • It is impossible to say how much it will cost to get divorced. You can have a very large and complicated marital estate but work together with joint experts and an amicable resolution which is relatively inexpensive or you can have a relatively minimal estate with a lot of animosity, interim issues that take up a lot of time and cost, inability to reach an agreement on the most simple issues and this will end up being extremely expensive.
    How much money does it cost to get divorced? Really what I want to know is how much will I end up paying a lawyer when it’s all done.
  • Most often, divorce lawyers in a given area know each other. Some are friendly with each other, some less so. However, in my experience, you will almost always be better off with attorneys that get along, as opposed to attorneys who don't get along. You don't want your case to be about your attorney's personal animosity with regard to opposing counsel. You want people who can work together, who have experience with each other and can get to either a fair result or move the case forward to litigation, in the event that is necessary.
    It seems like all the divorce lawyers in my area know each other and even worse, they all seem really friendly to one another. Isn’t that a bad thing?
  • There is no formula for alimony in the state of Pennsylvania. However, there are numerous factors contained in the statute, many of which are similar to those considered for equitable distribution. One of the big differences, however, is that fault is a factor to be considered in determining alimony. However, there is more emphasis put on the disparity of incomes, what each party will receive in equitable distribution, the length of marriage, etc. Alimony is very factually based with regard to both duration and amount. In Pennsylvania, alimony is a secondary remedy.
    Is there a formula for alimony in the state of Pennsylvania?
  • Generally, fault is not a factor, particularly with regard to asset division. In some jurisdictions, it may be a factor with regard to alimony. Also, depending on the facts of your specific case, it may be relevant to custody, but only if the misconduct directly relates to a parent's ability to parent their child. In general, the Courts are not equipped to hear the details of this conduct in every divorce case.
    Even though my husband cheated on me, a friend told me that won’t matter in terms of legal issues. Is that right?
  • Lawyers do bill by the hour and, therefore, every telephone call, e-mail and letter is a separate bill. I often recommend to my clients that they keep a notepad or an e-mail list handy and jot down questions as they occur to themselves and then contact me once a week with a series of questions to make the best use of my time and your money.
    I saw a bill from a friend, and every time she talked to her lawyer she got charged. So how often should I talk to my lawyer? I don’t want to go broke.
  • Equitable distribution means a distribution of assets that may not be 50/50. There are numerous factors that are to be considered when determining what is "equitable" and dividing your assets. Amongst others, these include length of the marriage, whether one party has primary custody of minor children, what is the size of either party's non-marital estate, what is the income disparity, what is the size of your estate. All factors are considered, other than fault, which is not to be considered in determining the division of assets, in order to come to a fair resolution which may be 50/50, it may be 60/40 or it may be 80/20.
    What is equitable distribution?
  • It is very helpful to bring the most recent year or two of tax returns, any personal financial statements, copies of documents indicating assets, as well as liabilities. Also, if there is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, sending a copy in advance can save a lot of time. Any proposed agreements or temporary orders that have already been entered or executed should be brought to the attorney's attention as soon as possible. Any document that you don't have, don't worry about. The attorneys can gather almost anything necessary during the normal discovery process. It is likely that you will not have access to all the documents that will be needed during the course of your divorce matter.
    What do I need to bring to my first meeting with my lawyer? I heard I need to bring all sorts of documents, like tax returns. Is there a list of the ones I need? What if I don’t have all of them?
  • Generally, a first meeting should last approximately an hour but may last longer if there are a lot of unusual or complicated issues. The first meeting gives you an overview the process taking into account the specific facts of your case. We will review your concerns with regard to support, custody and the division of assets and liabilities. We may discuss whether experts will need to be hired. We will also discuss interim issues such as gathering documents, whether either party will or should move out of the house, etc.
    I have never met with a divorce lawyer or any lawyer before. What happens in the first meeting? What should I expect? How long will it be?
  • Darn, cheryly hasn’t written any scoops yet!