Pennsylvania allows collaborative divorce, a process by which you and your spouse draft a divorce agreement together. When a married couple can negotiate the terms on their own, the judge doesn’t need to make decisions for them. You could avoid an expensive court battle by choosing a collaborative divorce.
What’s the process for collaborative divorce?
In Pennsylvania, you and your spouse need to sign a contract that confirms you will pursue a collaborative divorce. Then, you’ll meet with your attorneys to negotiate the terms of your settlement. It’s important to reach a fair agreement. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state that doesn’t default to a 50/50 split. If one spouse looked after the house or kids at home, they might need temporary alimony while they go through job training to find employment. In situations where both people were working, you may find that a 50/50 or close to 50/50 split is fair. If you and your spouse reach an agreement, you must spell out the terms of your divorce in writing.
What happens if you can’t agree?
When a couple can’t come to an agreement, their attorneys may suggest mediation. If you try mediation, a person who trained to become a mediator will attempt to guide the two of you to an agreement. There’s no obligation to sign a settlement after mediation, although that’s the goal. If mediation doesn’t work for you, the last route is a court hearing. A judge will listen to both perspectives and evaluate what was going on during the marriage to make a fair decision that aligns with the state’s equitable distribution laws.
Collaborative divorce is an option if your spouse also wants to try it. You may want to consider including a mediator if the two of you have trouble negotiating or staying calm throughout the discussions.