If you are in a relationship that you feel is leading to a separation, you could be overwhelmed by the thought of what this could mean for you, your finances, your living arrangement, and especially your children. Preparing yourself for this situation before it happens is one of the best things you can do. It can help to minimize stress and get organized so you can stay on top of it when the time comes.

There are many things you can do to prepare yourself for a separation. Before doing this, though, first consider if you want to and are willing to work on the relationship. This could mean talking with your partner about the things that are giving you trouble in the relationship and/or getting help through counseling. If this is not something that you want to consider, and you don’t feel there are any viable solutions to repair your relationship, read below for a few items to consider before a separation becomes a reality:

  • Think About Your Children – If children are involved, keeping the children’s best interests in mind is most important. Who will care for them after the separation?  Where will the children live?  What will the custody schedule be after separation?  How or will the separation affect the children’s schooling or activities? Taking all of your children’s needs and routines into consideration is extremely important as the separation should be as seamless as possible for them.
  • Get Your Finances in Order – Aside from taking your children into consideration, finances can be the most stressful topic of a separation or divorce. Because of this, getting all of your financial documents organized is key and something that can save you time and money down the road. This can include tax documents, property statements, bank statements, loan statements, credit card statements, bonds, wills, etc. Also, if your partner handles the finances in your relationship, you may want to start paying closer attention to all the details relating to the finances, including earnings, monthly expenses, assets, and liabilities.    
  • Keep Your Partner in Mind – Whether you both decided to work on the relationship through counseling or if you are certain that a separation is coming, keep in mind that your partner may be preparing for a separation at the same time that you may be or perhaps while you are not. Make sure to keep yourself and your children prepared for what might happen.
  • Take Inventory – Another vital part of preparing for a separation is taking inventory of all property – personal  and non-personal property. You can even take photographs of the property as evidence if you are worried the items will disappear once a separation is underway.
  • Consult with a Legal Expert – If you are considering a separation, consult with a legal expert to lean on their expertise. No two separations are the same, so it’s important to consult with someone who has the experience to guide you through your specific situation.

Doing these key things can help you feel more prepared and less stressed about what may happen, and can enable you to provide a legal expert with all of the information they need to make the best case for you and your children, as appropriate, during your separation.

If you are going through a separation, and have questions about what this means for you, your spouse, and/or your children, our lawyers would be happy to meet with you to discuss your situation and assess your options. Contact us online or call our law firm at 412-261-4040.

The attorneys of Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have experience in separation and divorce matters, and have provided valuable legal counsel and representation in these and other family law matters since 1978. Our founding partner, Joanne Ross Wilder, wrote the handbook used across the state by practitioners and judges in the family law arena.

Legal Separation
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
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