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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Family Law > A Guide to Starting the Divorce Process

A Guide to Starting the Divorce Process


Spouses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania who are considering ending a marriage may have no idea how to start untangling the union. While it is normal to experience a range of emotions when separating or divorcing, it’s important to approach the process with careful consideration and a clear understanding of the initial phases.

When you talk to a Bucks County family attorney, they can guide you through the beginning steps of dissolving a marriage, discussing when a separation agreement or trial separation is appropriate and when it might make more sense to initiate the divorce process right away.

Options When It Comes to Separation

Before diving into the formalities of divorce, often PA and NJ couples opt for a period of separation. This involves living apart and gaining emotional distance to evaluate the state of the marriage. During this time, there are practical matters such as living arrangements, child custody, and financial responsibilities to address as well.

Drafting a separation agreement can provide clarity. These legal documents outline the terms and conditions of the separation, and provide legal parameters for property division, spousal support, child custody, and visitation rights. Having a solid agreement in place gives the parties involved a structured framework to minimize potential conflicts.

There also can be discussion about whether the separation is a trial separation or not. A trial period allows individuals to experience life apart and assess whether reconciliation is possible. Communicating openly and honestly about expectations, boundaries, and the goals of the separation period can be incredibly useful.

Initiating the Divorce Process

While permanent separation agreements and trial separations offer valuable insights, there are instances where it makes more sense to initiate the divorce process promptly. This may be the case if there are concerns about safety, instances of abuse. There are also circumstances where both parties are certain about ending the marriage, so they do not need more time to assess their choices.

Often spouses choose to separate when:

  • Both parties are open to the possibility of reconciliation.
  • The desire to live apart but have a structured plan in place for the separation period.
  • You need time to consider the emotional and financial implications before committing to divorce.

Filing for divorce as soon as possible is typically best when:

  • There are concerns about safety or instances of abuse.
  • Both parties are in mutual agreement about ending the marriage.
  • There is a need for a legal resolution due to issues such as child custody, spousal support, or property division.

Regardless of your chosen next steps, a Bucks County family attorney can give you guidance. With the right support, you can navigate the complexities of ending a marriage and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process.

Where are you in the separation or divorce process? If you are seeking legal advice before you separate or are sure you want to end a union and wish to initiate divorce right away, talk to the legal team at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Call 215-968-6602 for a consultation.

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