An Uncontested Divorce in Harrisburg May Not Be as Simple as You Think

There is no law forcing anyone to hire a lawyer to get a divorce. To the contrary, ads for do-it-yourself divorces are everywhere, it seems. It’s a good thing if the divorcing couple can agree on how to divide up the marital assets and on custody and support questions, but there may be unintended consequences at a later time. Below are a few often-asked questions.

Can we share a lawyer? No. A lawyer cannot represent both sides at the same time. If one party has an attorney prepare all the agreements, the other party should at least have them reviewed by another lawyer.

Does it matter when papers are filed? There are deadlines that must be met. Missing them will delay the divorce and cost more money.

What about retirement accounts or similar assets? Most retirement accounts are community property and should be divided as well as military pensions and veteran’s educational benefits. If there are employee stock options, their value needs to be determined. However, Worker’s Compensation disability, military benefits to injured veterans and Social Security payments belong solely to the recipient.

What about taxes? Of course, tax status will change to unmarried for the year in which the divorce is final. The primary custodian of the children normally gets to claim them as exemptions, while alimony or separate maintenance payments are deductible to the payer and taxable income to the recipient. Tax benefits linked to any of the marital property need to be considered as well.

What are post-judgment issues? Those are problems that arise after the divorce is final – unintended consequences. One of the benefits of having an experienced attorney draw up or review divorce agreements is just that — experience. The lawyer can help to keep the client from repeating a mistake someone else made in the past. Resolving post-judgment issues can be expensive.

Serratelli Schiffman & Brown P.C. is a Harrisburg, PA law firm committed to offering their clients personalized service by an attorney who focuses his practice on the particular legal area involved in the client’s case. If the case if complex, the attorneys work as a team to resolve differing issues. The firm’s areas of practice include SSDI, bankruptcy, business problems, employment law, real estate and estate planning. Family law attorneys represent clients in custody, support and divorces, including Uncontested Divorce Harrisburg.

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