Individuals going through a divorce in Pennsylvania know that splitting up is a challenge. Some people get so consumed by the separation process that they forget to plan for life after the divorce. This can be a big mistake financially.

In Pennsylvania, which is an equitable distribution state, divorcing parties are not required to split all assets 50-50. If a court needs to enter a judgment on the division of assets, the judge can divide the assets in a way they deem “fair.” However, while it may be deemed “fair” for one person to keep certain big-ticket items like a marital property home, it may not be the best idea to do so. Someone who was relying on a partner’s contributions to a mortgage payment may find themselves “house poor.” In such cases, expenses for other necessary items will be diverted to the cost of the home.

In general, it is a good idea for separating couples to create financial plans for after the divorce, especially if they have children. Once the divorce and child custody battles are over, one spouse may wind up making unexpected child support payments, in addition to spousal support, which can add up quickly.

Even while individuals are still going through the separation process, they can make the error of spending too much on legal fees by fighting over every single thing and refusing to mediate or otherwise negotiate a settlement. Though it may seem like more of an investment, retaining a family law attorney at the start of a divorce and trying to settle quickly can be more cost-efficient.