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 Well, you’ve come to the decision that you have to divorce and you really want to get through this as peacefully as possible without spending your life savings.  Just remember that as long as you and your spouse are in agreement, you can pretty much do whatever you want—it’s just a matter of figuring out the best strategy to get through the court system.  Here are some things you can do to avoid litigation and  get your process through your local court system.

  1.  First of all, talk to your spouse and see where you’re in agreement on the following issues that are relevant to your situation.  On areas where you are not in agreement, try not to fight and just write them down with a plan to address them later.
    1. Should you divorce?  Is this what you both want?
    2. Each develop a budget so you know how much you are going to need to survive the separation.
    3. When will you start separating your living space.
    4. Where will you each live.
    5. What are you going to do about the children?

                                                              i.      How will you work out their custody

                                                            ii.      What kind of parenting plan (visitation) works best.

                                                          iii.      What amount of child support will work for you.

  1. What about your community assets and debts?  How are you going to divide them—who gets what.
  2. Do you have separate property that you both agree is the other’s separate property.
  3. What about alimony/spousal support—will it be required.
  4. Pets—what will happen to them?
  5. Figure out what your timing is as to when you want to start the process.
  6. Legal Assistance
    1. Start your documents using an independent paralegal service, or in some states they are called legal document assistants/preparers.
    2. Find a mediator you both agree on to help you resolve your unresolved issues.
    3. Each of you pay an attorney who agrees to ONLY CONSULT on your case, and pay them for 1-2 hours of consultation on the issues you are not in agreement on.
    4. Mediate your unresolved issues until you have an agreement
    5. Have your attorney review your agreement keeping in mind that they will probably make many suggestions—you must keep common sense in mind here and make sure that any changes/revisions to your agreement recommended by your attorney are essential.  Many times they are giving you advice and recommendations that are helpful, but just way to overboard for your situation.
    6. Final documents—these can be finalized using the independent paralegal service or attorney.
    7. Divide your assets per your agreement.
    8. Start healing and taking care of yourself.
    9. Find support groups for both you and your children.
    10. Spend time loving yourself!!

The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice.  The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned.  Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions. 

Divorce with Dignity? Really?

“No way!” he said. “Just can’t happen.” This was the response I got when I tried to explain the Divorce with Dignity Network and it’s vision to a friend, who is still reeling from the aftermath of a divorce that was final 3 years ago. I am divorced and in my mind, it can happen – but you need two things. You need two people who really desire and agree to keep things as ‘nice’ as possible and, you need a Divorce with Dignity professional.  What does the Divorce with Dignity professional provide? Two more things- information and guidance mixed in with experience.

There’s a lot of information out there about divorce and how to do it. The paperwork is lengthy and time-consuming for the inexperienced. Most people find it difficult to stay focused and on track when you are going through the emotional roller coaster of a divorce. And, some people might find it difficult to be ‘nice’ during this stressful transition. A Divorce with Dignity provider offers a safe place for a couple to get to know their options and discuss them. All the information necessary for a divorce in their state is readily available in one place. A ‘road map’ is provided! A couple can then decide what’s best for them, without having to navigate through the divorce on opposite sides at a much higher price.

“Yes,” I answer. “There really is such a thing as a Divorce with Dignity!”

Written by Susan Elwell, Director of Sales, Divorce With Dignity Network, Inc.

The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice.  The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned.  Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions

 I know you’re feeling just terrible heading into the holidays knowing that you’re going to be getting a divorce sooner or later.  What do you do knowing this?  Is it better to just start the process now, or wait until after the holidays?  These are tough questions that require some soul searching on your part, as only you can answer based on your own situation.

Of course if you have children this is an extremely tough decision and you have to assess what it will do to your children?  Will it give them peace of mind, or will it bring them much sorrow and sadness; could be both.  I would say that if you are currently functioning as a family and there’s no domestic violence going on, then you might want to wait and start the process after the holidays once you have a chance to talk to your children and explain the situation.  Of course, if there’s domestic violence or other forms of anger and  harassment, then everyone will be better off once the process is started.   

John and Betty Smith knew they were going to get a divorce because they were headed in totally opposite directions in their lives and had really grown apart.  They made this difficult decision in November after being in counseling for many months.  However, their two children, Brad and Jennie, were not openly aware of their parent’s unhappiness, and now the holidays were almost here.  So John and Betty decided to just hold off and wait until January to start the process.  They each made a commitment to do their best to maintain their dignity and respect for each other and  the children, and work together to make this a nice holiday for Brad and Jennie.  They also decided to really downplay the presents and focus on exposing their children to the arts and festive spirit of the holidays through their schools and church.  Brad and Jennie would, of course, get Christmas gifts, but they did not want to overdo the gift giving to compensate for what the future would reveal.

It was very difficult joining with the other family members to celebrate the holidays as John and Betty decided to keep their divorce private and not mention it to their other family members until later.  So they did their best to participate in the family gatherings and provide Brad and Jennie a nice family holiday. 

As hard as this was, it laid the groundwork for John and Betty to work together in January and start the process toward an amicable divorce.  It helped give them communication tools to work with each other in a peaceful way.

Now what should you do?  Can you follow the path of the Smith’s or are you so unhappy that the only relief you can see would be to start the process NOW?  If you need to start now, you won’t be alone—other people do begin their divorces during December, and you may find that this was just the relief you needed.  Of course, it will be a different, probably not one of your best , holidays, but you will then be able to start the new year and your NEW BEGNNING.  So do what brings you peace of mind; isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice.  The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned.  Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions. 

Wow, it’s really a tough decision to decide whether or not to divorce and it might take a long time to make this decision.  First of all, I would discuss your feelings with your spouse, and start to find answers to the following questions:

  • How long have you had these feelings? 
  • Have they been accumulating or were they triggered by a recent event? 
  • Why are you even having these thoughts? 
  • What does your spouse think about all this?
  • What do you really want to do?  Do you know?

Try to sort through your feelings as much as you can because ultimately you are the only person who can make this decision.  Of course, a lot rests on your partner and how he or she feels, but you can only be responsible for yourself, so what do you truly want?  Don’t worry about what others (family, neighbors, friends) will think—we cannot live for these other people; we can only live for ourselves.  And lots of times, there are no real intellectual answers for our questions, but much more deeper answers regarding what we’re really feeling. 

No one wants to start or get a divorce, but some of us can no longer live under the same rules and conditions that we’ve been existing under.  Sometimes a divorce is the only way we can truly find ourselves again and regain our life so that we are living a life of purpose, joy and fulfillment. 

Maybe you will decide to stay married and that is wonderful as long as you have determined what caused your feelings to even think about divorce and taken action to heal whatever was going on to cause such negative feelings.  Just thinking about divorce does not mean that you are bad or that you have to divorce.  All it means is that something is happening that needs to change so you can both reclaim your love for each other and live fulfilling lives. 

However, if you think that the situation is beyond healing or repair, try to first get professional help before making your final decision.  There are various resources to help you figure out what to do, such as couples counseling, coaching, individual counseling for yourself and perhaps both of you, spending more time with each other, communicating better, etc.   

So you’re not a bad person to have these thoughts—you’re human.  And just having the thoughts doesn’t mean that you will end up in divorce.  It means you’re ready to open up your heart and communicate your feelings and see if you can heal and fall back in love with yourself and your spouse.  It means you’re not suffocating or suppressing what’s really going on.  It means that you value yourself enough to want to live a life full of love and happiness and that you’re willing to start taking the steps to find the answers to whatever is happening to you right now. 

Please comment  if you’ve thought of divorce and been able to pull your marriage back together and it’s now better than it was before you took action.

The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice.  The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned.  Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions

I once had an attorney ask me, “If you were on an operating table would you question what the doctor was doing?”  That sure was a great technique, and I ended up paying him a bundle.  Well, times change, and these days we even need an advocate for dealing with hospitals, doctors, etc., because no one wants us to know anything—the same applies to law—you deserve to know how it’s going to work and what to expect.

How many times have I heard, my attorney is stalling and I don’t know what to do, or my attorney won’t settle, or I’m afraid to call my attorney because it costs so much money?  Well, they may think they have you over a barrel because they’ve convinced you that they’re the only one who can help you get a divorce.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  There are lots of other attorneys, mediators, and paralegals who can help you through this process.  Don’t forget, you’re their customer and who’s always right?  The Customer!!  You need to control your process and be in charge.  You may not know how to get through the legal system, but there are many professionals who do, and as long as you know what you want and how the laws in your state work, you should be able to get your divorce in a timely manner.  And if you and your spouse can agree, wow, that can save you thousands of dollars, frustration, and months, maybe even years, in finalizing your divorce.  So demand that your attorney does what you want them to do; and if they don’t want to do that, then you can dismiss their services.  That’s right—you have the power—you actually have the right to control your divorce; not only the right—your crazy if you don’t take charge and make sure you’re getting what you want. 

Message of the Day:  If you don’t get along with your attorney, or agree with their methods, you can dismiss them and start with another professional.  It’s probably going to save you a lot of time and money in the long run, so cut your losses and take control of your process.

The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice.  The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned.  Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions

Why should anyone consider an amicable, or peaceful, divorce?   Is this a crazy question or what?  Divorce is a war, divorce is a death, and yet, divorce can be your New Beginning eventually.  Almost 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce, and the effects are devastating.  You’re probably reading this blog because you are about to divorce or have been affected by a divorce.  I will try to help you regain your confidence and manipulate the mine fields of your divorce so you can obtain a peaceful resolution. 

I know you didn’t want to be here; neither did I.   My process was not dignified—it was war and it was a war  which no one won.  It killed my spirit for a long time, and my children suffered—fights in school, bad talk, etc.  But we survived and it lead me on a journey to explore these issues deeply and help people avoid getting caught up in the system, which really doesn’t care for you at all.  It’s a money-making system that’s evolved through time, and like many of our other bureaucracies, it needs to change.  So I hope that I can help you move forward in positive new directions, rather than see you hold yourself back engulfed in your anger and depression.  It’s your choice and it’s a very difficult one to make, but I want to share some information with you to help you on your journey.   

I will try to walk you through the process as simply as possible.  I am not an attorney, so I won’t be giving you any legal advice on this blog.  I will just be sharing life experiences with you supported by facts, experiences and stories from the many people who have been able to walk the path of an amicable divorce.

This blog will focus on three main topics:  the emotional issues; how to navigate the legal system; and success and disaster stories of real people’s divorces, as well as input from other divorce experts.  Stay tuned for our next post.

 

The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs are not providing legal information.  The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned.  Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.

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