Thinking about a Divorce? Some Issues to Consider
October 21, 2013


Thinking about a Divorce? Harrisburg Divorce Considerations

Consider the following:

1. Who Lives in the House During the Divorce?

You may be relying on your spouse vacating the marital residence so that you can reside there in peace. However, unless your spouse voluntarily leaves the residence, you may find yourself living together in the house during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. There are certainly situations when the court will order one spouse to leave the residence and awarding exclusive possession to the other but these situations are more the exception than the rule.

Even if one spouse may vacate the residence at the start of the process, if the house is titled in joint names, each spouse has a legal interest in the residence and can return even if not welcome. You can change the locks and your spouse can change them back.

2. What Happens When you Leave the House?

However, even though both may have a legal right to occupancy of the house, once you leave it may be difficult to get back in to retrieve personal items.

While it is true that you do not lose your economic interest in the residence, a move from the marital home may reduce your chances of retaining the house at the end of the divorce process.

3. What about Support?

Obtaining a court order for child support can take 30 days or longer. An order for spousal support could take considerably longer to get into pay status.

Even if your spouse is at fault for the break up of the marriage, if you are the higher incomed spouse, you may end up paying support in the form of alimony pendente lite. This could be the case even if your spouse is cohabiting with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

It is the rare case that one or both spouses do not experience a significant change in economic lifestyle. There simply, in many cases, is not enough money to support two households.

4. Moving the Children

You may meet with opposition from your spouse if you attempt to remove the children from the marital residence. Even if the children express a strong desire to remain in your custody, in Pennsylvania, there is no magic age at which the children’s preference controls the living arrangements. A child’s preference is only one of many factors that the court must consider in awarding primary custody to one parent or the other.

A parent, even one with a court order providing that parent with primary custody, does not have an automatic right to move with the children if that move will substantially impact on the other parent’s access to the children. The Pennsylvania custody statute provides very specific rules that must be satisfied before relocation will be permitted.

People are Unpredictable

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to predict how your spouse will react when served with a divorce complaint or advised that you have decided that it is time to end the marriage. Be careful!

The above points are only a few of the contingencies that must be considered and planned for when you are contemplating a divorce. The issues are not insurmountable if thought through in advance. Plan carefully and seek legal advice before moving forward with this major change in your life.

If you are considering a divorce, now is the time to contact a Harrisburg divorce attorney from Daley, Zucker, Meilton & Miner at 717-724-9821.