Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer
You knew this day was coming. Now that you have decided to start the divorce process, there are many short- and long-term issues to work out. Who will get custody of the kids? Should you move out of your house? Will you owe spousal support or child support? Having worked with many clients in your position, our attorneys sympathize with the uncertainty this challenging time of life brings. Hiring a Philadelphia divorce lawyer early in the process can help ease some of these pains and help you get your life back on track quicker.
Even if you and your spouse have agreed to end the marriage, you may have different ideas about who the children should live with, who gets the car, or who should live in the family home, and many other details of dividing a household and assets. Your assets could make the marriage dissolution process even more complex.
“We understand the sensitivity of your legal issue. Our goal is that you leave your consultation with an understanding of the law, your best options, and your rights.”
Melinda Previtera, Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer
Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer
At Petrelli Previtera, our attorneys help clients end their marriages as efficiently and successfully as possible. Every divorce is different, which is why we take the time to understand each client’s goals and explore all options for the best resolution.
In Pennsylvania, divorcing spouses can generally take one of four approaches:
- Mutual consent divorce
- No-fault divorce after one year of separation
- Fault divorce
- Divorce following one spouse’s institutionalization
Each of these types of divorce has different requirements and a timeline.
Some divorcing spouses can reach an agreement outside of court. Others need the help of a judge to resolve their divorce. Some may rely on or need help enforcing a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, our law firm can identify the right strategy for a great outcome. We will work with you to resolve custody, support, and other issues that may arise.
Your Property and Assets
One initial step in a divorce is to identify and locate all assets and property that belong to the spouses. Anything purchased during the marriage will be marital property, even if only one spouse acquired it. Marital assets include the primary marital residence, rental units, or even vacation homes. For many couples, it involves at least some bank accounts and vehicles. However, additional assets that will need to be divided during divorce can include:
- A family business
- Business executive benefits
- Stock options and restricted stock
- 401k accounts
- Military retirement accounts
- Other retirement accounts
- Motor vehicles
- Real estate
- Intellectual property rights
- Paintings or other expensive collectibles
Pennsylvania law allows some assets to be omitted from the equitable distribution process. These are “non-marital” or separate assets. For example, gifts or inheritances received before or during the marriage that are kept separate might be excluded.
Getting the Right Help with Equitable Distribution
Finding and determining a value for all of these assets can be quite overwhelming. Depending on the types of assets you have, we may recommend using various financial experts such as a forensic accountant. It is vital to your divorce that all assets are found and correctly valued before the division of assets begins. Once the order for asset division is finalized, no amendments can be made. Using financial experts can be especially helpful if you believe your spouse could be hiding assets or devaluing a business or other property.
Questions Frequently Asked from a Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer
What is equitable distribution of marital property under PA law?
Most states, including Pennsylvania, adhere to the legal concept of equitable distribution when it comes to dividing property in a divorce. Equitable distribution only applies to marital property and not separate property. It does not mean that the property is divided equally. Equitable distribution means that the courts divide marital assets in a manner that is fair but not necessarily equal.
When will alimony or spousal support be awarded?
Divorce may end many obligations. However, it might not end them all. You may or may not have alimony obligations when your marriage comes to an end. An attorney from our law firm can help you determine if you might owe or receive spousal support once you divorce.
Spousal Support vs. Alimony
Spousal support is awarded for the purpose of assisting the less well-off spouse get a fresh start after the divorce. It is a form of financial assistance that partners can negotiate on their own, or that a judge could award to one spouse.
Alimony recognizes the receiving partner’s contributions to the marriage. Perhaps they were a stay-at-home parent raising the kids while the other partner focused on their career. It can help one spouse achieve financial independence after the divorce. To determine if spousal maintenance payments should be awarded, the court will look at the following factors:
- Length of the couple’s legal marriage
- Each partner’s earning capacity and their contribution to household or career
- The physical health of the recipient
- The recipient’s ability to find gainful employment
Alimony payments can be made in one lump sum or in installments.
How do courts determine child custody?
Can I meet with a Divorce Lawyer near me?
If you’re going through a divorce, you likely have many questions, such as can I meet with a divorce lawyer near me? It is in your best interests to meet with a divorce lawyer who is knowledgeable in your particular legal matter. Petrelli Previtera offers several consultation options, such as virtual appointments through zoom. The cost of the consultation starts at $150. We offer a $50 discount for those who elect to prepay. If you’re ready to discuss your legal options, use our 24/7 online scheduler to view available appointment times and choose one that works best for you. Or feel free to call our office to talk with an intake specialist to schedule an appointment.
How do I find the best divorce attorney for me?
- Choose a family law attorney. A family law attorney will have the knowledge needed to efficiently represent you.
- Get referrals. Your personal injury lawyer may not be able to handle your divorce, but they may know a Divorce Lawyer who can. You may be able to get referrals from attorneys, clergy, accountants, and counselors, as well as divorced friends and family members.
- Do your research. One you have referrals, check the Divorce Lawyer’s credentials. Make sure the lawyers you are considering are members of the American Bar Association or the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Check the divorce attorney’s website and LinkedIn profile. You may also want to check the attorney’s AVVO rating. AVVO has ratings, reviews, and disciplinary records for lawyers in every state.
- Choose an attorney with experience handling divorces like yours. If you and your ex can agree on most of the details of your divorce, you may prefer an attorney who uses mediation. If you are going through a contentious divorce, you will want an attorney with courtroom experience. If you and your spouse have considerable assets, you may want to work with an attorney who has access to a forensic CPA or appraiser.
- Interview your top choices. The interview gives you a chance to meet the attorney and get their legal opinion. This is an opportunity for you to see how you will get along with the attorney. You should choose a lawyer who speaks to you English, not legalese. If you don’t feel comfortable, choose another lawyer.
- Choose an attorney you can trust. Since you will share personal information, the divorce attorney should be someone you trust and feel comfortable with. If you don’t like an attorney, choose someone else.
Do I need a Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer?
Many types of legal cases are important to your future. However, there are few that are as fundamentally important as divorce actions. In a divorce case, the judge will make decisions that will affect your financial future and family relationships. Everything from how much support you need to pay your ex-spouse to how much time you get to spend with your kids will be part of your divorce case. The process by which these decisions can be complex and errors can inadvertently compromise your rights. When your children, property, and future income are at stake, it is important to protect your rights by hiring an attorney.
If I’m not ready to file for divorce, can I seek a legal separation?
No. Pennsylvania law does not recognize legal separation. You can still live in a separate residence from your spouse. In fact, living “separate and apart” from your spouse for two years is one way to establish grounds for divorce in PA.
What are “grounds for divorce”?
Where do I file for divorce?
How long will my divorce take to complete?
How much will my divorce cost?
Get Prestigious Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers On Your Side
To get the legal divorce assistance you need, you can reach a Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer with Petrelli Previtera at (215) 399-2355.
At Petrelli Previtera, our lawyers have shown skill and success as both negotiators and litigators through the years—and we have awards to prove it. Our firm has consistently won top-notch recognition including:
- Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Honoree since 2015
- The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40
- Martin-Hubbell’s Gold Client Champion 2017 Award
- Kev’s Best list of the ‘5 Best Divorce Attorneys in Philadelphia’
- ThreeBestRated’s list of the 3 Best Divorce Lawyers in Philadelphia, PA
- Inc. 5000 2019 & 2020 Mentionee
- And many more!
During our first meeting, we will define your goals and any issues you may face, such as parental rights and division of property. We will answer your questions and give you the best advice on how to protect your assets. If you have decided to divorce, we’re here for you. Contact the experienced family law team at Petrelli Previtera, LLC. We’ll answer your questions and schedule a consultation to discuss your options.
Contact A Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer for Assistance
Our Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers have years of experience representing clients and can help you move on to the next phase of your life. If you’re ready to discuss your legal options, let’s get started by scheduling an initial consultation.
The Philadelphia, PA law office offers legal services in the Philadelphia area including Philadelphia County and surrounding counties, and is located at:
1845 Walnut Street 19th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Direct Phone: (215) 399-2355