Pennsylvania couples who think filing for divorce at the beginning of a new year are not alone. According to statistics, this is one of the periods in which filings increase sharply. Some estimates show that 20 percent of married couples consider getting a divorce after the holidays. There are some things these couples can do to get prepared.

Knowing where they stand financially will help the divorce attorney determine how certain financial issues should be addressed during the divorce. Although year-end financial documents may not be ready until towards the end of January or the first part of February, the final pay stubs of the year can provide important information. Additional financial documents that should be collected include previous tax returns, bank statements and credit card bills. People should also obtain free credit reports for themselves and their spouses to determine if there are debts about which they should be concerned.

Educating oneself about the divorce procedure in one’s home state is also important. Reliable information can be obtained from the websites of the state courts or the state’s bar association. It may also be helpful to create a list of questions that pertain specifically to the unique factors before the first consultation with an attorney. Alternatives to the traditional divorce method, like mediation, may also be researched to determine if they are viable options.

While a divorce can often be emotional, it doesn’t always have to be complicated or antagonistic. A family law attorney in many cases can help a client negotiate a settlement agreement that can be submitted to the court.

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