Pennsylvania residents who are considering ending their marriage should have a realistic view of the process. Understanding that a divorce can be unpredictable can help in accepting the outcome.

During a divorce, spouses are able to decide how their marital assets will be divided. It is the policy of the divorce court to conduct property division in an equitable manner. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that marital assets will be divided equally, Pennsylvania judges will make their determinations on the basis of what they believe to be fair.

The divorce process is also useful for deciding financial support responsibilities. While state guidelines determine how child support payments will be calculated and distributed, there are provisions in place that allow the courts to deviate from them. Whether or not spousal support is awarded and how much are determined by the unique factors of each case and the financial circumstances of both parties.

Another purpose of divorce is to establish child custody and visitation terms. While making child-related decisions that are in the best interests of the child is the guiding principle of the courts in these matters, the decisions can differ with each case and court. Instead of relying on only a judge to make custody decisions, parents may want to consider negotiating to obtain settlement terms with which they can be in agreement.

In many cases, the couple’s respective family law attorneys can assist in negotiating a divorce settlement agreement. In the event that there are issues that remain unresolved, attorneys might recommend mediation as an alternative to litigation.