Westtown Divorce and Child Custody Lawyers
It’s official: Chester County is the fourth-best place to live in the entire United States.
"Located in the greater Philadelphia area, Chester County boasts an income ratio of 2.3 (the ratio of median income to cost of living) and an average life expectancy over 80. It's the highest-income county in Pennsylvania."
The report from 2016 combined four factors in determining that towns like Westtown were an ideal place to call home: the marriage rate, income ratio, life expectancy, and physical activity rate.
Marriage in Westtown
Westtown Township had a healthy population of 10,827 in the most recent census of 2010. 65 percent are married, and only five percent divorced - around three-quarters of households contain a married couple. Since the divorce rate was counted as a negative factor on the happiness report, these are encouraging statistics.
Westtown is chock-full of venues for weddings. From a family farm to beautiful Oakbourne Park, Westtown is a setting worthy of romance, strong families, and happily ever after. But what if divorce is an appropriate and necessary step on the way to happily ever after? Those statistics didn’t count prior marriages and their role in determining "what’s best."
Things to Think About in Divorce
Do you have the right forms filled out? Have you asked for everything you need for future expenses? Is there a way to minimize the impact of divorce on your children? How long will a divorce proceeding take, and is there any way to move faster? What if my spouse doesn’t want to end our marriage?
A good deal of these answers can be found online, but the only way to address your specific case is by sitting down with an experienced legal counselor. Don’t forget to ask about other issues people often have in a divorce, like:
- Cost of living
- Name change
- Change in taxes
- Modifying an estate plan
First Steps in a Westtown Divorce
If divorce is your next step and you and your spouse are living in Westtown, you’ll need to download Pennsylvania’s divorce forms and fill them out.
The forms need to be filed as a "complaint" or "legal action" at the Chester County Justice Center in person, along with a filing fee. Make sure you include other forms for more complex divorce cases (requests for spousal support, child custody, or child support should be filed at the same time, but they have slightly different requirements).
Once filed, you need to "serve" a copy of your divorce complaint on your spouse. Chester County recommends making four copies total: one for the court, one for your records, and two for serving to your spouse.
Because Pennsylvania holds all paperwork to the same legal standard (as if it was completed by a bar-approved attorney), Chester County strongly recommends having a lawyer when you’re filing for divorce.
Protect Your Children
Children are innocent, but they often suffer the consequences of divorce the most. Here are some simple tips for protecting your children.
- Custody. Unless your spouse is hostile and doesn’t care what happens to your children, sit down with him or her and hammer out a custody agreement yourselves. Parents who can’t agree are forced to go to court-approved mediation to try to work things out. In the meantime, the family court handling the case will make up a temporary custody schedule. If the parents still can’t agree, then the family court judge, a complete stranger, will decide where your children live and who makes their decisions.
- Coparenting. As long as you both love your children, you’re in this together…so be civil, considerate, and work together with your ex. Your spouse doesn’t stop being your child’s parent just because you’re divorced. Studies show that children who have "active, meaningful" relationships with both parents do much better in the long run. So, shared parenting is the way to go.
- Counseling. Letting your children speak their minds with an objective but compassionate third party will ease the emotional buildup inside of them. Divorce often leads to fear, moodiness, anger, guilt, depression, or manipulative behavior in children. Having a professional in their corner gives them support and understanding.
Divorce Resources for Westtown
Support Groups and Divorce Resources
School and Child Care
Westtown Legal Help from Sheryl R. Rentz
Divorce is, by its very nature, a difficult transaction. Not just emotionally, but legally, financially, and mentally.
If you have questions for a Westtown-area divorce attorney, call the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. We handle high-asset divorce and difficult custody cases. Our experience covers alimony, annulment, bankruptcy, child support, mediation, asset division, and more. Call toll-free (866) 290-9292 for a free sit-down with a Chester County family law attorney.