things to do before you file for divorce

8 Things You Need To Do Before You File for Divorce

things to do before you file for divorce

 

Filing for divorce is a big decision, to say the least. There are several issues that may need to be resolved before you can officially end your marriage, including the division of your marital assets, spousal support, child custody, and whether you will pay or receive your child support.

With so much on the line, it’s extremely important that you fully evaluate your options and goals before you file for divorce.

Here Are 8 Things You Need To Do Before You File for Divorce

1. Have Certainty

It’s critical that you are sure that you want to get a divorce before you file for one. Filing for divorce can irrevocably change your relationship and may start a cascade of events from which there is no coming back. You should never file for divorce as a bluff or in response to a particularly bad fight.

While there are certainly cases in which it’s justifiable to file for divorce without letting your spouse know, in most cases, it’s a good idea to discuss the matter before you file any paperwork with the court.

2. Gather Important Documentation

As soon as divorce is even a consideration for the future, you should take the time to gather important documentation and information. This way, you will have everything organized when the time comes to file for divorce, and you will not have to worry about your spouse attempting to conceal critical information – such as financial accounts – from you. Some documentation you should organize in a file includes:

  • Social security numbers for you, your spouse, and your children
  • Insurance policies
  • Account numbers for all bank, investment, and retirement accounts
  • Deeds to real property
  • Titles to vehicles
  • Appraisals of valuables, including art, musical instruments, or jewelry
  • An inventory of your personal property
  • Usernames and passwords for all online accounts

With all of this information upfront, your lawyer will have the full picture of your situation, and you will not need to delay your divorce while you search for documentation. Keep in mind that if you plan to move out, you should be sure to get these documents before you actually leave – many divorcing spouses who leave the marital home find it very difficult to get back in once they are out.

3. Have A Plan for Custody

If you and your spouse have children, and one of you is planning on moving out, it’s a good idea to discuss how you want to handle child custody while your divorce is pending. You can always hammer out a final custody order at a later date or have the court decide the issue for you, and it’s a good idea for your children’s sake to figure out how you will handle parenting time and decisions until your divorce is finalized.

If you’re having trouble coming to an agreement with your spouse, keep in mind that a judge can impose a temporary custody order during this period.

4. Have A Support Network

Divorce can take a toll on your finances, but it is also a highly emotional time. No matter who is seeking the divorce, ending a marriage and breaking up your family can be a draining task. You should avoid taking out your emotions on your children, but it is important to have a separate emotional support network.

Dedicated friends or family members can lend an ear when needed, and they can also help with your kids or other tasks that can be difficult to complete on your own.

5. Have A Clear Understanding of How Your Actions Could Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce

The period between filing for divorce and the date your divorce is final can be a complicated one. Many people are anxious to get on with the next chapter in their lives and do things that may be out of character or start dating immediately. It’s important to understand that the things you do while your divorce is pending may have an effect on the outcome of issues like child custody, the division of marital assets, or spousal support (maintenance).

For this reason, you should refrain from engaging in any activities that could call into question your judgment or emotional stability. In addition, since you are still married in the eyes of the law, it’s a good idea to refrain from dating or starting a new relationship while your divorce is pending.

6. Have A Financial Plan

There is no doubt that divorce can affect your financial situation. For many people, losing the financial support of a spouse can be difficult, and there are ways to plan ahead to ensure you are in the best financial position possible post-marriage. Some aspects of a strong financial divorce plan include:

  • Do not accrue any unnecessary debt before or during a divorce
  • Watch any joint accounts for over-spending on your spouse’s part
  • Stick to a strict budget and minimize your spending
  • Determine how much income you will need to cover your bills and expenses on your own

7. Have A Place to Live

Many people wonder whether they should move out prior to filing for divorce. Sometimes, moving out can make it more difficult to retain any ownership in the family home after the divorce, so you might consider staying until the divorce is final. However, if the situation at home is untenable or unsafe, you should secure a place to live that is affordable and appropriate for your children to visit.

8. Hire An Experienced Divorce Attorney

Finally, if you are considering filing for divorce, it’s in your best interest to at least consult with a family lawyer in your jurisdiction. Divorce is a complicated legal matter that can affect the most important aspects of your life, including your finances, your ability to spend time with your children and make important decisions about their lives, and whether you can stay in your current home.

Consequently, it’s highly advisable that you consult with an attorney before you decide to take any steps that can affect your legal rights.

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you want a divorce

Discernment Counseling: When You Aren’t Completely Sure You Want a Divorce

you want a divorce

Have you heard of Discernment Counseling?

Do you want to divorce? Be sure you’re sure!

If you have landed here you are likely divorced. Or perhaps considering it and you are here to explore what life might look like should you take that crucial step. In the case that you are teetering, here is some information you might find useful.

Not every individual who lands in the office of a family lawyer is ready to dissolve their marital union. Of course, that notion is irrelevant if, in fact, the other spouse is. A healthy relationship or the like can only exist when both parties are committed to the dance.

The decision to divorce is one that is on the table in households daily. Numbers of unsatisfied married people make a decision to dissolve their relationship on a regular basis. According to research, however, divorce does not necessarily make unhappy adults happier. Survey data reveals that approximately 50% of both men and women expressed regret over having divorced.

Unhappily divorced men and women were no happier five years post-divorce than those who remain married; two-thirds of those who remained married reported being happy five years later. It seems then marriage may indeed be good for some, but, pausing and bettering yourself may be advisable more often than not.

When You Aren’t Completely Sure You Want a Divorce

When you and/or your partner are actively considering what life brings on the other side yet share ambivalence, fear and/or trepidation, Discernment Counseling might be for you. It is the therapeutic equivalent of a “pause”.

Discernment, according to the dictionary, refers to the ability to judge well and to be astute about topics often ignored or overlooked by others.

In the area of marital therapy, with its widespread theoretical variations, there may be a lot of wisdom to impart on the couples who walk in our doors but they themselves often have little discernment.

Discernment Counseling was developed by psychologist William Doherty of Minnesota (see the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project) to help “mixed-agenda” couples herd some momentum and draw a conclusion with ‘clarity and confidence’.

An estimated 30% of couples enter couple’s therapy with a “mixed agenda”, that is, where one is leaning-out and one is leaning-in. Traditional couples’ therapy is unsuccessful for these couples; effective therapy is impossible unless both partners are in the game, albeit with some hesitation.

With Discernment Counseling, couples leave having made one of three decisions—

  1. Keep the status-quo
  2. Pursue divorce
  3. Commit to a six-month period of couple’s therapy

As you are aware, having heard countless narratives on how and when the decision to divorce occurred, there is no best time to make that final decision.

That decision becomes even that much more complicated when there are others in the picture who are being affected, most typically children, young or old, and sometimes aging parents.

This process is intended to move things along, for better, regardless of the choice.

Approximately 48% commit to therapy, 42% divorce and 12% render a non-decision to stay the same.

Some couples who are terminal and at death’s door rebound and with couples therapy reconcile and get back their mojo. And, with those who engage in the process of DC (vs those who do not), they navigate the divorce process in a healthier manner, should that be their end game.

Discernment Counseling is not therapy. It is not couples counseling nor is it divorce therapy. Couples will not see a change in the dynamics of the relationships, although there may be revelations and observations both they and their therapist may have that can help. Couples will be able to determine if, in fact, their problems are solvable.

Since we tend to show up again in our next relationship, it is important to know how you got here prior to making a decision, with that process more critical when it involves more than just the couple.

With Discernment Counseling couples will gain:

  1. the clarity and confidence to make a decision
  2. awareness and understanding of each person’s contributions and dynamics in the relationship and
  3. a deeper knowledge of how the marriage has progressed through its stages and how they came to the brink of divorce

There are times when neither Discernment Counseling nor couple’s therapy is the most relevant choice for a couple on the brink and other options are preferred. It is not appropriate when:

  1. There is the presence or danger of domestic violence or sexual abuse
  2. When one spouse is coercing the other to participate
  3. When at least one partner has made the decision to divorce

At the end of the day, many relationships can be saved. If we fail to pause, we invariably take ourselves into our next relationship often with a repetition of the pattern that we have in our current relationship.  Discernment Counseling is an available option for these couples that are uncertain and on the brink and they typically leave better, regardless of their decision.

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Let Intuition Guide You In The Decision To Divorce And Beyond

decision to divorce

 

You have been unhappily married for quite some time and the possibility of divorce has crossed your mind.

You have been evaluating the pros and the cons of staying with your husband and it is a tough call. You feel miserable but it can feel so right at times…

Now what?

Read on for helpful tips on how to use meditation and tap into your intuition to guide you in making this difficult decision with poise and confidence.

Leaving the love of your life is no small task

Deciding whether to leave an unsatisfying marriage or sticking it out is no small task. It’s a major decision, as big as getting married, if not more. Therefore, it should not be made in haste or in the heat of an argument.

In addition to taking the time to evaluate your relationship, you need a peaceful and quiet mind, so that your inner wisdom can bubble up and guide you into taking the right course.

Unfortunately, we are often consumed by obsessive thinking. The truth is that solutions cannot come into a mind that is cluttered with thought patterns of fear, anger, victimhood, revenge or any negative emotion. So, the first step is to quiet the mind.

Let Intuition Guide You In The Decision To Divorce

Cultivate a peaceful mind through meditation

The best way to quiet the mind is through meditation. Meditation is a highly effective tool to heighten awareness and restore a sense of serenity and inner peace.

The word meditation conjures up all kinds of images, but the truth is that you do not have to stand up on your head chanting mantras nor lay on a bed of nails. You are not required to embrace beliefs that may conflict with your own. These mysterious associations may scare some people, but this does not need to be the case.

Meditation is essentially quieting the mind. Turning off the inner chatter that torments us with thoughts of the past and fear of the future.

These ceaseless thoughts steal our attention from living in the present moment, where the action is. Where things happen. Where ideas flow. Where change takes place.

Most of us have so much clutter revolving in our heads that we are convinced we cannot turn off our minds. Especially when we are in unhappy situations that consume our attention.

Yet meditation is not about instantaneously drawing a blank for hours at a time. You start by slowing down your thoughts until you eventually feel the bliss of serenity. And once you experience that peace, you will be hooked. You will never get enough of it.

Meditating is easy

The easiest method of meditation is to sit comfortably with your back straight, close your eyes and follow your breath. Focus your attention on your in-breaths and out-breaths for five to ten minutes. If thoughts arise while you’re meditating, release them and return your attention to your breath.

That’s it!

In time you can increase the duration of your meditation sessions, or try more sophisticated techniques.

As you can see, meditation is simple, free, needs no fancy equipment and can be practiced anywhere at any time.

There are countless styles of meditation. Choose the one that’s right for you. Experiment with different techniques until you discover the one that hits the spot.

You may switch styles at different times, depending on your mood and circumstances. Feel free to play on your own, and create a routine that will make you feel refreshed, alert and alive.

Learn new techniques and meet kindred spirits

Jumpstart your meditation practice! Take a class or go on retreat and meet fellow meditators who can support you on your practice. Pick up a book or browse online. The Internet is full of resources, including guided meditation videos to help you get started. Check out Simple Habit, a free meditation app to get you meditating in five minutes!

One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Tara Brach, has fantastic information on her website, including guided meditations and comprehensive meditation FAQs. Her peaceful demeanor and soothing voice will have you in the zone in no time.

Brach’s beautiful teachings have been instrumental in my spiritual evolution and can support you, too, as you transition from an unhappy marriage to an awakened life.

Like many people, you may be skeptical that you can meditate. Anyone can meditate, including you. And once your mind is quiet, you can let your intuition do its job and guide your decisions and actions in every situation.

Intuition: your internal guidance system

As you stand bewildered on a fork on the road wondering what to do, realize that you have an internal guidance system that knows the solution to every problem and the answer to every question. It’s called intuition.

Intuition is your inner sage. It is often referred to as the sixth sense or the “still small voice” within. Intuition is that hunch that nudges you to turn right when you know you’re supposed to turn left, only to avoid an accident or a traffic jam.

Intuition directs you to call a friend, only to learn this person was in danger or need, and your call was heaven sent. Perhaps it convinced you to walk into an unfamiliar store where you found an elusive item you had been long searching for.

Intuition is always active and available to guide you, anywhere, anytime. And it responds to your requests for assistance. It will help you discover the right answer every time, if you let it. It will show you the way.

When you follow your intuition and surrender to its guidance, things go smoothly and unfold in perfection.

Step back and get out of your own way 

Perhaps you have not enjoyed the full benefits of intuition up to now because you were not in tune with its power. We are conditioned to rely exclusively on our reasoning minds, and to reach our solutions from the (limited) pool of knowledge that we have. So we knock ourselves out over-thinking the solution to our problems when, in reality, we would do ourselves a favor if we stepped back and allowed intuition to step in and reveal the answers.

You have the gift of intuition 

You may think that intuition is a faculty possessed only by psychics or saints. But everybody has the gift of intuition, whether or not they realize it. That includes you.

Some people may appear to have a keener intuition. They seem to mysteriously know things hidden to the rest of us. That is because these people have made a habit of listening to it, trusting it and following where it leads.

You can cultivate your intuition and fully enjoy its benefits, too. Unleashing the magic of intuition is easier than you think. It merely requires you to get out of the way and let it do its job. It is releasing your ego’s need to control every outcome and welcoming the possibility that your path will reveal itself at each junction on the road.

Follow these steps to wake up your intuitive powers:

  • Quiet your mind
  • Meditate for a few minutes and clear your mind of obsessive thoughts and negative emotions. Negative emotions block the flow of intuition.
  • Ask the right question to get the right answer
  • Articulate in your mind the problem you are seeking to solve. In order to get the right answer, you need to pose the right question.
  • Ask the question from a place of integrity and make it your intention to attract the best solution for the highest good.
  • End with this affirmation from Florence Scovel Shinn:“I am always under direct inspiration; I make right decisions quickly.”
  • Let the answers come
  • Release your query and allow the answers to come to you without forcing them. Sleep on it, as the saying goes. I prefer to do this exercise before going to sleep, and the answer often comes in a dream or a thought that pops up when I wake up in the morning.
  • Listen for the messages
  • The answers will come to you, but you can only notice them if you are open and receptive. Use active awareness and pay attention!
  • While it would be convenient if they appeared on a billboard addressed to you personally, your responses can arrive in in a variety of ways, many of them surprising.
  • They can come in the form of a thought or idea. They can appear as an image, a mental picture, a word or a song. Your answers can be delivered in a call from a friend or a random encounter with a stranger. You can receive a subtle sign or be struck with a major epiphany.
  • Learn to trust your intuition
  • Intuition is the opposite of the reasoning mind. Very often your intuitive hits will defy common sense. We run into problems when we try to second guess our intuition. Or when we become attached to an outcome and are unwilling to consider that there’s a better way out.
  • Get rid of the graspingness. Do not fight your intuitive leads and see where they take you.
  • Act on your intuitive hits
  • If you feel prompted to do something, go for it! Your surprise blessing may be waiting for you, or a wave of favorable unforeseen events may ensue. I am not suggesting you engage in reckless conduct, but if a seemingly harmless idea pops up, what do you have to lose?
  • At first glance, this may seem senseless to you. But questioning intuition will neutralize its efficacy. If you can’t bring yourself to trust the unknown, start with smaller decisions.
  • As you strengthen your intuitive abilities and begin to honor and follow your leads, you can delegate larger matters until you stop resisting and permit yourself to go with the flow. You will then move through life with the confidence that you’re always in the right place at the right time and taking the correct action.

Let intuition guide you in the divorce decision and beyond

Rely on your intuition to guide you as you end your relationship with your husband as it exists today. It will advise you whether to leave or stay. It will reveal to you the actions you need to take to repair your struggling marriage or will show you the way to the door.

Your intuition will become your most trusted adviser in every area of your life. Your inner sage will point the way to freedom and fulfillment. You will know in your heart the next steps to take.

Your inner sage will direct you to your ideal home, your next career or job or the training you need to reach your goals. Your intuition will introduce you to new people and will counsel you who needs to go. And just as important, it will intervene and nudge you when you’re heading the wrong way.

As you continue to activate your intuitive faculties, you will discover that they will always be working for you, even without your asking.

Do you trust your intuition? Have you listened to it as navigate the waters of marital turmoil?

Share your answers in the comments below!

Note: Excerpt adapted from the book Solve the Divorce Dilemma: Do You Keep Your Husband or Do You Post Him on Craigslist? by Sonia Frontera

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money smart divorce

10 Steps For a Money Smart Divorce

money smart divorce

 

When your marriage is ending, you have a lot on your mind including the past and the present. If you plan to make smart money decisions during your divorce, you will need to be focusing on your future as well.

Focusing on your future can really help when you are divorcing. Many couples learn the hard way and don’t examine their financial resources and assets to secure a financial future because they are too emotionally connected to the act of the divorce. Think of your divorce as a business deal and put the emotions aside so you can concentrate on the numbers.

10 Steps for a Money Smart Divorce

Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

The best idea to examine your credit is to get a copy of your credit report before the divorce so that anything in dispute on it can be resolved in advance of the finalization of your divorce. Contact the big three including Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax so you can get a copy of your report from each one.

This is the quickest manner to get all the information you need in one spot about outstanding loan balances, mortgage debt, and credit card debt that you and your spouse will need to divide in the divorce proceedings.

Open Individual Accounts in Your Name

This is another item on your to-do list before your divorce is official. It’s easier to get a credit card and a bank account solely in your name while you are still married because you share joint assets and debt on your credit cards, mortgages, and loans with your spouse.

This is of the utmost importance if you are a woman and have never established credit before. As people age and they don’t have credit, then it is almost impossible to get credit because they are seen as having no background with credit to be considered for a credit card and thus will be denied just because of no credit background.

Close all Your Joint Accounts

Divorces can be a long-drawn-out process that can take a lot of time. You want to close out all your joint accounts with your spouse to avoid acquiring more joint debt or losing shared bank assets during the process.

Cancel the accounts in writing and make certain to request that each creditor report the account as “closed by customer” to the credit bureaus so it does not reflect badly on your individual credit reports. Even though you close out all of the accounts, you will still be jointly responsible with your spouse to pay off the balance on each closed account.

Keep Property Separated

The assets that you acquired before the marriage and brought into the marriage, such as vehicles, real estate, an inheritance, gifts of any kind and money you had before the marriage are your separate property and they are yours after the divorce. You need to make sure and keep these separated in order to be awarded them.

For example, if you had a monetary inheritance and the money went into a joint bank account after you got married, then the court will consider this joint property and they can divide it according to the property laws of the state in which you reside. Keep in mind that your separate debt also travels with you. If you had a student loan and your spouse was jointly helping to pay the payments on it, you carry the balance out of the marriage with you.

Consider Selling the House

Women divorcees often want to keep the marital home at any cost because of emotional ties to it and the family. You should look at this issue and set aside your emotions. If you may not be able to afford the payments, then you can lose the home in the future.

You might consider selling the marital home and using the money to purchase a smaller home that you can easily afford with money left over as a financial cushion in the case that you would need it. This is especially important in an economy where we have no clue what the future will hold.

Change Your Beneficiaries

Most married couples name their spouse as their beneficiary on wills, trusts, IRAs, life insurance, and pension plans so that if one dies, the other will have the money to take care of the children. You really don’t want your ex to have a windfall of money in the case that you have an untimely demise. You can also examine each of these documents when you make changes to them and change your marital status on them at the same time.

Reclaim Your Maiden Name

Many women want to reclaim their maiden name to sever the ties of the relationship after a divorce. You will be required to have proof of the divorce decree in order to do this. You have a long list of to do’s here. You need to get a new driver’s license and report your name change to your employer, doctors, human resources department, your children’s teachers and schools, your landlord, mail person, health insurer and your pharmacist.

You will need to redo your W-4, other tax forms and report the name change to the Social Security Administration. You could lose valuable credits on your social security if there is a mix up with the names.

Check into Your Retirement

If you are pretty close to retirement age, you should check into your Social Security benefits. If you are 62 or older, were married for 10 years or more and have been divorced more than two years, without remarrying and you don’t qualify for an equal or higher Social Security benefits on your own, you can receive benefits that are based on your ex-spouse’s Social Security record even if your ex has not applied for benefits that they are eligible to receive. If you remarry, those benefits will end.

If you are raising a child that is under the age of 16 from the marriage you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record even if your marriage didn’t last 10 years. Usually, you can expect the same amount you would have gotten if you had remained married and sometimes all of it if your ex-spouse dies. The benefits you draw on your ex-spouse’s account do not affect amounts that are due to your ex-spouse’s current spouse.

Keep Your Health Coverage If at all Possible

If you are divorcing, try to keep health coverage if at all possible. One uncovered medical emergency can cripple you financially for the rest of your life. The COBRA program ensures that you are guaranteed 18 months of health coverage. It’s best to pay the much higher fees but remains with health coverage until you can find a lesser expensive alternative.

Get Up and Get Going

It’s recommended to get your credit report again about three months after your divorce is finalized. This will enable you to clean up any loose ends and to see all of your debts and assets in one area. If you received a lump sum payout in the divorce, you may want to consult a financial planner to ensure that it is well taken care of and don’t buy that fancy new sports car that you’ve always wanted.

Remember that you can live well no matter what your net worth is or what your marital status is.

These items on your to-do list will help you to remain financially sound after a divorce when you will need to handle all of your own finances. It’s a hard task, but the more you can put aside emotions, the better off you will be on your own.

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Make Your Divorce Easier

8 Smart Family Lawyer Tips to Make Your Divorce Easier

Make Your Divorce Easier

 

When I started as a family lawyer over 13 years ago, I was as new to the divorce process as anyone else. Having now been involved with hundreds of cases, some more difficult than others, I’ve learned some sage advice to give my clients. Divorce is by no means an easy thing to go through, but there are some things that you can do to make the process a little bit simpler and easier for you.

Here Are 8 Smart Lawyer Tips to Make Your Divorce Easier:

Observe Proper Timing

Divorce is as important as a couple’s decision as getting married is. You can’t force someone to get married the same way as you can’t just force a divorce on your spouse (setting aside special circumstances). It is best to talk things through before filing for a divorce so your partner won’t drag the process just to get back at you.

Open Your Own Bank Account

Ideally speaking, you should have your own bank account even when you are married but if that is not the case, then you should get one; whether you are getting divorced or not. Know that in cases of joint accounts, your spouse can drain your account without your consent so it is better to avoid this situation, to begin with, by having your own.

Ensure That You Have Time for a Divorce

Getting a divorce can eat up your time and the changes will be hard for you, your ex, and the children. By making sure that you have the time to devote to a divorce, not only will it make the process easier and faster but you will also have time to allow yourself and loved ones to transition into your new life. I’ve seen many cases where, although a divorce is needed, the timing causes havoc far beyond the existing marital issues.

Your Divorce Rationale Letter Should be Lawyer-Reviewed

If you are the one filing the divorce, you might be compelled to explain why to your spouse in writing. Because of guilt, raw emotions and history with your spouse, you might say things that can hurt you later on so it is better to have your lawyer review your letter to ensure it doesn’t contain anything that can be used against you.

Begin with a Lawyer and Lawyer Meeting

Most divorce cases are negotiation proceedings so having your lawyers meet in the beginning makes sense to minimize communication issues later. A lawyer to lawyer meeting like this often results in a win-win divorce with no need for dramatics.

A Second Opinion Won’t Hurt

A divorce is a one-time thing so it follows that you cannot make mistakes with it and end up with an even bigger problem. This is why a second opinion matters. Your lawyer will also usually welcome a second opinion from a respected colleague.

Ask for Relief When You Have Multiple Reasons to Do So

Filing a motion for every little thing and for the smallest of things will just annoy the judge, your spouse, your spouse’s lawyer, and your lawyer too. It is best to wait until you have a few things to address.

Expect that the reason for the Divorce Won’t Affect Who Gets Child Custody

It doesn’t matter if you are divorcing because your spouse used up all your money or you caught your partner cheating. Know that child custody goes to which parent has better means and ability to take care of any child from the marriage.

Going through a divorce will forever change your life, your ex’s and your children’s lives. How you go about it, can play a large role in how you persevere throughout the process and how you manage to turn the page and live your best life moving forward. From my experience, following these tips, the divorce process will be smoother and you’ll be better for it.

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divorce advice

36 Pieces of Divorce Advice from DivorcedMoms Readers

divorce advice

 

“Advice,” it’s probably the one thing we all seek when going through a divorce. The best advice you’re going to receive is from your divorce attorney or an expert in the field of divorce.

There is great value in the advice given by those who’ve been through the divorce process and come out the other side. That’s why DivorcedMoms has gathered divorce advice for you from our readers.

Who better to understand what you’re feeling, going through and stressing over than those who’ve also been in your situation?

I do, however, want to urge you to contact a family law attorney if it’s advice about the legal process of divorce that you need.

Divorce Advice from DivorcedMoms Readers:

1. Amber: Be proud of yourself. It takes strength to make this choice. Don’t make any decisions that you won’t feel comfortable telling your children about when they are adults. Have integrity, and accept that you will just have to make peace with some things.

2. Cathy: Make sure it’s what you want. It’s so hard, even if in the heat of the moment it feels right. It’s so painful before during and after. Just be sure.

3. Pattie: Document everything keep all texts and emails. They may help you in court. Hire a lawyer, it makes things a little easier. Always think of your children first and what’s best for them. Even when you’re finally divorced do not think it’s over …that is not the last time you will be in court.

4. Holly: Take someone with you to all meetings with your lawyer! That way you have a second pair of ears and someone that will advocate for YOU. Someone that is NOT emotionally invested. You will be emotional and stressed and not thinking right.

5. Lisa: Never doubt yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Take advice from others with a grain of salt. You have to do what is best for you. Don’t rush into another relationship. Love yourself and get to know you again separate from the married you.

6. Maureen: Always think of the children first. Co-parent with grace and dignity. Compromise. Children do not need to see the bad stuff. No matter how much you dislike the other parent, never ever let your children see that.

children and divorce

7. Connie: Go to therapy first. If you go through with it, DO NOT use the kids as pawns. Remember Love your kids more than you hate each other. Stay away from lawyers, go the mediation route ( I know that could be a lawyer too) if you need to involve professionals.

8. Katy: If you have kids remember that they’re half your ex and as much as you want to hurt the ex using the kids it will only hurt the kids and yourself

9. Karen: Think long and hard and be prepared. Get your and I mean YOUR affairs together and only then make the move if you feel that is your only option. There is nothing fair about divorce and if you have kids they will suffer if you don’t put money aside and be prepared. The courts will not care about your kids well being so don’t think they will be okay. Divorce is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

10. Tami: Don’t Unless you are being abused. No one wins and as a woman, you will be destroyed on every level- so if you are prepared to rebuild everything with no help at all and surround yourself with good lawyers and you have the money to do it. Then and only then are you ready

11. Tonya: The person you’re divorcing is not the same person you married. And keep it business polite.

12. TeachinLady: Be 100% sure that you are 100% sure you want a divorce. Forever is a mighty long time.

13. Sandi: Get ready for a very long bumpy wild rollercoaster ride.

relationship with psychopath

14. Ruth: Get a good lawyer – even if you think it’s going to be an “amicable divorce“. There is no such thing – and the person who files first has more control in the divorce proceedings.

15. Yolanda: If there are kids, they didn’t ask for this so keep their best interest in mind at all times and YOU WILL SURVIVE!

16. Connie: Get a good lawyer and take their advice. All of it. No matter how mad you get, no matter what the other party does. Do what your lawyer says.

17. Yolande: It’s going to be a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Sometimes you won’t even understand why you feel like crying…you need to work through your emotions and learn to control them

18. Mary: Take a deep breath, think wisely, and do the right thing that will make you proud in the future. Bad decisions and mean words will come back to bite you. Kids are ALWAYS watching and listening. And remember to SURRENDER your troubles to God!

19. Jenna: Learn how to love yourself and forgive yourself. Let go of guilt and anger. But first, hire an amazing lawyer and get what you and the kids need. Don’t agree to anything in writing or arbitration without an attorney.

20. Ginger: Don’t rush into anything. Give yourself time to heal and get to know yourself again. Laugh again at things and yourself. Remember this to shall pass. Forgive yourself. Move on. And love yourself. You are your best friend.

happy he left

21. Jennie: Try to find a divorce support group in your area.

23. Joyce: Treat the other parent with respect in front of your child, they are not bargaining chips…be nice

24. Anamaria: Never give up on your dreams. Always smile no matter how difficult the day is.

25. Kelly: You need to tell your kids age-appropriate reasons. It’s is easier for them to understand the divorce, and saves them from placing blame on themselves. If you don’t give kids a reason, it will do two things.

  1. They can internalize the thought that sometimes someone you love abandons you and this can drive anxiety and avoidant behavior.
  2. It shows them to accept being treated badly when they see it in your marriage.

26. Nancy: Know that the roller coaster of emotions is normal and just get to the next day. There is light. It will come. Be brave. Stand strong. Find support.

27. Denisse: Don’t let it make you “bitter”, become a better version if you, and be happy. Even if it’s not you wanting the divorce.

28. Shari: Check your emotions at the door when making financial and custody decisions. Divorce is all business. Don’t make hasty decisions based on an emotion

29. Kenzie: Trust the process and don’t settle for less than your worth.

30. Danielle: If you’re set on divorce, strike first. Don’t tell anyone anything about it. Don’t post about it on social media. And if you have kids, DO NOT use them as a pawn. Even if you hate the ex’s guts. Don’t tell them too much, and so your best to make it easier for them.

31. Jane: Be strong and know you are doing the right thing.

32. Ida: Don’t feel sorry for him and let him off easy. Never give him the opportunity to take advantage of you legally.

33. Sherry: Pray for your children and for yourself and get the best attorney.

34. Alexandria: Hire a great Lawyer and take him for everything!! Do NOT trust him. Make copies of everything you will need for court. Keep a journal. Start putting money away. The courts are a business and you are just another number to them! Keep your personal business to yourself. Seek a good counselor because it will help you. Have faith and stay strong, time heals everything.

35. Cathy: Every woman thinking about divorce needs to be aware of the fact that there is no justice in the family court system and that being a divorced woman can be a lonely and stressful lifestyle. Especially if you’re raising children alone.

36. Susan: If you have children; fight for them and show them every day how much you love them. Be strong! Family court sucks!

 36 Pieces of Divorce Advice from DivorcedMoms Readers 1

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Divorce Does Not Need To Be Devastating, There Is a Better Way

divorce doesn't have to be devastating

 

I envision a world where peace and love are part of every encounter. And I get it, that seems like a pipe dream at this point. If you look at the state of our country and the world, some would say we’re moving backward. But what I’ve learned over the past two years is that peace and love are possible in any situation, even if it seems impossible or if it’s never been done before.

When I realized in the summer of 2017 that my marriage of almost ten years was likely going to end in divorce, I was prepared to go through the worst experience imaginable. Not because we had extensive problems or because I thought we couldn’t work through it; I knew it would eventually be ok, but I thought it would take years to move through the muck and sadness to get to the happy ending. I truly didn’t know it was possible to maintain peace, love, and well-being throughout the whole process, because I was so attached to the stigma of divorce.

Our society views divorce as a failure, something wrong, something horrible, a disaster.

It took a long time for me to realize that it doesn’t have to mean any of those things. Thankfully, I had an amazing spiritual mentor to open me up to new possibilities and an amazing partner who was also willing to walk the peaceful and loving path.

Over the course of 6 months, my husband and I were able to process the grief and sadness that divorce brings and move through the process of dividing our life to build a new future for our family as friends and co-parents, all done with peace, love, and faith.

There were obviously many sad moments and lots of emotions to process, but I was astonished at how easeful the process was and how non-disastrous it was.

Divorce Does Not Need to be Devastating:

Our divorce was not a tragedy.  

It was not the worst time of our lives.  It was not something that I wish I could forget. In fact, looking back at what we were able to do, I wanted to shout from the rooftops what was possible. I wanted people to realize what I now know, that peace and love really are possible in any situation. It’s how you show up that matters.

When we started sharing the news of our divorce, many people actually didn’t believe the “real story”. They were convinced that it must have been horrible and were viewing it as most people do, a tragic event. This made me realize how much unnecessary pain surrounds divorce and I felt called to share our story and what is possible. I also realized that there is so much involved in divorce, from emotional to logistical to financial issues, no wonder it’s often so difficult and so painful.

The amount of work that goes into this process is staggering. From simple things like who will take the couch, to complex issues like splitting retirement savings, creating a co-parenting plan and figuring out where everyone will live, the choices and questions seem almost endless. When you add in the emotional aspect, it becomes almost overwhelming. I realized in early 2018, that not only do I feel called to share with people what is possible, but I am also uniquely positioned to help others navigate all these issues.

With more than a decade of experience in the financial industry, I have helped people with everything from retirement planning to everyday budgeting, in addition to splitting assets. I also have the unusual combination of being able to help people with the emotional and spiritual side, as when I was pregnant with my daughter in 2015 I began to focus more on my spiritual journey and have spent the past several years studying meditation, spirit, unity consciousness and love activism. I received my designation as a Spiritual Teacher in late 2015 and have led a Spirit-led life focusing on peace, love, and oneness since that time.

I have also spent the past several years as a foster parent to many children, working through the complexities of scheduling visits, differing parenting styles, creating dual homes and the logistics of co-parenting.

All of these things have prepared me for my calling, to bring peace, love, and light into the process of divorce and to help women create a new life after divorce.

To further my financial knowledge, I received my designation as a CDFA® (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®), which allows me to help people work through the complexities of the financial aspects of divorce like dividing assets, tax implications and transitioning into a new financial situation.

I now couple this with logistical and emotional support to provide holistic guidance through this often-difficult process. As a Divorce Consultant, I help individuals, couples and families find a peaceful path to their new life and help women thrive after divorce.

Divorce does not need to be devastating. There is a better way. Hope starts here.

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planning your dream divorce

Planning Your Dream Divorce

planning your dream divorce

 

Brides will spend months, even years, planning their “dream wedding”. Vacationers will spend months planning their “dream vacation”. Yet a couple rarely gives much thought to planning their “dream divorce”. While a divorce is far from dreamy, planning your divorce is smart.

Planning can save you thousands of dollars, cut significant time off the divorce process, and help you build confidence around your decision.

Planning your dream divorce is an effective strategy for gaining your freedom.

What is Divorce Planning?

Divorce Planning (a/k/a Pre-Divorce Planning) is a process in which you build a roadmap of how you plan to exit the marriage. Planning for a divorce involves clarifying your goals, educating yourself about your rights, gathering information, exploring your options, and working with your legal and divorce team to customize a strategy that is best for you.

Divorce planning can address questions like:

  • Where will I live during the divorce?
  • How will I pay for things during the divorce?
  • How will I serve my spouse?
  • How much time will I get with the kids?
  • How can we minimize the conflict?
  • How do I time everything?
  • How will I tell my children, family, and friends about the divorce?
  • What is the plan to settle this?

Myths about Divorce

Divorce Planning can also help you overcome common myths and misconceptions that may be holding you back.

Myth #1 – If I see an attorney, that means I have to file for a divorce right away.

By seeing an attorney, you do not have to file for a divorce right away. In fact, seeing an attorney about divorce does not mean you have to file for divorce at all. You can begin planning your marriage exit strategy first and then file for divorce when you’re ready. By pulling in an experienced family law attorney to brainstorm your options, you are building the foundation of a team that will support you and guides you into the next chapter of your life.

Myth #2 – Divorce planning will make my divorce cost more.

Divorce planning is strategic and smart, and it can save you thousands of dollars. Think about a trip to the grocery store. If you go in with a list and coupons, your experience is efficient, and you save money by staying focused on getting the things you want and need. If you go in without planning and just a loose idea of things you might need, you end up wasting a lot of time and money on things you may not need, get distracted with “shiny objects”, and likely forget something along the way. Similarly, divorce planning can help you stay focused on what you need and avoid getting distracted by the things that will cost you in the long run.

Myth #3 – If I plan my divorce, it means I’m a bad person.

Divorce guilt is not truth. It takes courage to make the decision to leave a marriage that has been dead for years. Your children do not have to watch the two of you continue to suffer or learn that what they see is what they should aspire to. By leaving a bad marriage, you are not only freeing yourself, but you are also freeing your husband and your children. By planning your divorce, you are being proactive in protecting yourself and your children’s futures. That first brave step is the ultimate expression of love.

Six Steps to Take Action on Right Now

Divorce Planning can empower you to take control of your life. If you’re thinking about divorce and want to start planning, below are six steps you can take right now.

1. Don’t agree to anything yet!

The divorce process takes time. Your husband may threaten to take things away if you don’t agree. Or you may want to make an offer now and “strike while the iron is hot”. But resist the temptation. Talk to an attorney right away to find out your rights and options. Do not rush into an agreement that you will regret later.

2. Obtain a copy of your credit report.

If you don’t already have a credit monitoring service that provides one, you can download a copy of your credit report for free. You don’t need the score, just the report. Review the report to make sure there aren’t any surprises and to discuss how to handle debts in your name.

3. Set aside a “Rainy Day” fund.

Protect your money! You may need to open a new bank account or credit card before you file for divorce. You may need to move some money around (legally!) to protect you and your children from being financially strangled. Setting aside money to cover anticipated living expenses, medical expenses, and attorney’s fees is smart and limits the financial control your husband may try to use against you. If you’re not sure where to begin, speak with an attorney.

4. Consider a safety plan.

In situations where domestic or family violence is involved, plan smart and stay safe. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (www.thehotline.org/) has a safety plan you can download for free. Be sure to share it with someone you trust and get the support you need.

5. Reassure your children that they are loved and safe.

Your children will take their cues from you. Tell them that it is not their fault, even if they tell you they know that. They may put on a brave face, but if you’re feeling afraid, lonely, and devastated, chances are they are too. And if your husband tells the kids about the divorce without you, don’t freak out. It’s a jerk move, but it happens. Avoid pulling the children in the middle of things or blaming the other person. It may be hard to do, but it pays off in the long run.

6. Do not sign anything without an attorney looking at it!!

If you are presented with anything, do not sign it!! An unassuming Waiver of Citation can end up waiving your rights to your children, property, and right to a trial. An Informal Settlement Agreement that is poorly drafted or omits certain rights can bind you to an unfair agreement and have a ripple effect on the rest of your life. And if you’ve drafted something you want your spouse to sign, beware of potential errors in legal drafting. You may think to be agreeable or taking short cuts will make things easier, but you could be giving up valuable rights, making things more complex and expensive later on.

Not every divorce lawyer implements divorce planning in their practice. In fact, most don’t. But if you are apprehensive about divorce and looking for guidance, look for experienced family law attorneys who are open to discussing your options and empowering you with information. With the right guidance, you can feel more confident about realizing your dreams of freedom.

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information your divorce attorney will need

Personal, Property, and Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need

information your divorce attorney will need

 

A lot goes into choosing a divorce attorney. I always suggest three attorneys be interviewed before deciding which to hire. During the interview process, you can learn about the attorney’s experience, their fees and get a feel for whether or not you feel the two of you could have a good working relationship.

Once you’ve made your decision, the new attorney will need information from you in order to get the ball rolling and the divorce process started. Some information is basic, will require no work from you. Other information will require time and energy and it is always best to be prepared. So, before you even start the interview process, why not get ahead of the game by gathering as much information as possible so that when it comes time to answer questions your new divorce attorney has, you will be prepared.

Below is a list of common questions/information your divorce attorney will need.

You will find this list helpful when compiling documents and materials your attorney will expect from you.

Personal Information:

  • Your full name, date of birth and social security number.
  • Contact information such as an address, landline/cell phone number, and email address.
  • Proof of state of residency.
  • Your employer’s name, address, and phone number.
  • Your length of employment and your monthly or annual salary. You should be prepared to show your attorney at least three years in income tax returns.
  • Your spouse’s full name, date of birth and social security number.
  • Contact information for your spouse such as an address, landline/cell phone number, and an email address.
  • Your spouse’s employer information, address, and phone number.
  • Your spouse’s length of employment and salary.
  • If the attorney will be serving your spouse with divorce paperwork they will need to know where you want this to take place. At your spouse’s work or place of residence?
  • The date and place you were married.
  • The name of your spouse’s attorney if he/she has one.
  • The name of a marital therapist you and your spouse visited with times and dates.
  • A list of the marital problems that led to divorce if any involve alcohol or drug abuse, religious differences, infidelity or sexual incompatibility.
  • The full names, dates of birth and social security numbers of any children born during the marriage.
  • Which parent the children now reside with and whether or not a custody dispute will be part of the divorce process.
  • The full names, dates of birth and social security numbers of any children from a previous marriage.
  • If you pay child support, how much you pay. If you receive child support, how much you receive.
  • Whether or not your spouse has children from a previous marriage. If so, how much child support is paid or received.
  • Who provides health insurance for the children born of this marriage?

Property Information:

  • Addresses of property owned jointly or separately.
  • Addresses of any mortgage companies you have accounts with.
  • The estimated fair market value of homes owned.
  • The balance on any mortgages.
  • The amount of monthly payments to a mortgage company.
  • A list of all automobiles, boats, motorcycles, trailers or airplanes owned jointly or separately.
  • The year, make and model of each and who has possession.
  • The name and address of any lender who may hold the title to autos, boats, motorcycles, trailers or airplanes.

Financial Information:

  • A list of all joint and separate bank accounts, savings accounts, C.D.’s, Credit Union accounts, Savings Bonds and Stocks and Mutual Funds.
  • How many debit cards you have for each account and the names on those cards.
  • A list of any credit card accounts you hold jointly or separately. The names on the accounts and the balance due.
  • Information about retirement accounts, 401K’s and other investment type accounts.
  • Disclosure of any life insurance policies, whose life is insured and for how much.
  • A list of names of those who owe you money. How much they owe and the expected payment date.
  • A list of any lawsuits you may be involved in.
  • A list of any livestock, such as cattle or horses that you may own.

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DIY Divorce Or Divorce Online: What You Need To Know

diy divorce or divorce online

 

Divorce always involves a new stage of life. For some, it can mean a release, the logical outcome of a distressing situation, and therefore, a desirable life change, while for others – the collapse of dreams, and complete frustration and confusion. Divorce is daunting whether you hire an attorney or go the DIY divorce or online divorce route.

Once a couple decides to divorce the divorce process begins, and it entails contact with bureaucracy, paperwork, court visits, a host of trivial, mundane but urgent things which require clear thinking and taking active steps.

All that you can do is ease the divorce process itself as much as possible and minimize the negative effects. And the good news is that we can help you sort out exactly how to get this done.

What You Need to Know About DIY Divorce or Online Divorce

Two Types of Divorce

There are two main ways of terminating a legal marriage union:

A contested divorce is traditionally a lengthy process, and is often associated with the cinematic conception of the word “divorce.” It usually assumes several trials, heated debate between the spouses and their lawyers in court, mutual blaming and huge expenses.

A contested divorce takes place when the spouses need to divide their joint property or resolve the issue of child custody, and each party has their own opinion of how to do it, with no desire to compromise.

An uncontested divorce is a more in vogue way of getting a divorce. A vast majority of American couples are opting for uncontested divorces as an affordable and rather quick method of dissolution.

An uncontested divorce implies that the spouses have reached an agreement regarding all the most controversial problems of their divorce. In most cases, it means that they write a settlement agreement – an official document that outlines all the joint solutions regarding child custody and visitation time, property division, spousal support if any is needed, and other topics.

Moreover, sometimes, when neither of the parties asks the court to address some significant issues, they can even do without this agreement, and a divorce can be granted by default. In general, only a final hearing is required. However, some states allow simplified uncontested divorces with no trials at all.

Divorce without a lawyer

This concept is called a do-it-yourself divorce and is quite popular now as well. The primary principle of DIY divorce is that both spouses must get ready to cooperate and solve problems jointly. Their intention to make the divorce process less stressful and expensive must be mutual, and they must communicate honestly and directly. Each party must understand their responsibilities, since without an attorney divorce hinges on them and them only.

Therefore, a couple should consider their particular situation, and not rush in blindly. For example, depending on how complicated it is to make the settlement agreement independently (especially when the parties are parents of underage kids), the spouses should remember they may resort to the help of specialists for a particular part of the job.

They can hire a lawyer to make a valid settlement agreement or use divorce mediation or counseling. Divorce mediation is a non-competitive alternative to litigation, which is perfect for spouses who are ready for dialog but are finding it difficult to settle all the differences successfully.

The mediation process requires the spouses to negotiate under the guidance of an experienced professional; they do not fight but rather discuss all the problems constructively, encouraged by the common goal of making a mutually beneficial agreement and getting a divorce as quick as possible.

Once the settlement agreement issue is decided, we are dealing with a simple uncontested divorce, and it becomes easier to continue the process without legal representation.

If you haven’t already, you should familiarize yourself with the family law of your state, as well as filing regulations. Different states have different specifications for how a divorce must occur. However, in all cases, the core of a simple uncontested divorce is paperwork.

Dealing with divorce paperwork

In general, every divorce starts with the filing of a divorce petition. Despite the fact that different states, as well as different counties within a state, may require different divorce forms, there is a basic set of the papers which are necessary.

Regardless of their title in your jurisdiction, these papers are designed to:

  • Start a divorce (Petition for divorce, Petition for dissolution of the marriage, Complaint about divorce);
  • Officially notify the other spouse (defendant, respondent) about the case (in some states, where the procedure of simplified divorce is recognized and the spouses file the petition jointly, they can skip this step. In other states, a copy of the petition must be delivered to the defendant even if he or she knows about the lawsuit and agrees to divorce);
  • Provide the court the needed personal data about both parties (which is usually used for statistics);
  • Waive the hearing (if you do not want to contest the case, you must officially refuse litigation);
  • Finalize the divorce (Final divorce order, Divorce Decree).

Along with that, numerous other divorce forms and papers are required depending on your location and personal situation.

So, how does one get the correct divorce papers if you wish to divorce without an attorney?

And is it possible to do this without setting foot in the clerk’s office, wasting your precious time?

Free divorce papers from the court site

First and foremost, to get relevant information concerning the needed forms you may check your county court’s website or the website of the judiciary branch of the state. They usually provide a list of documents for different scenarios, like “contested/uncontested divorce with children,” “contested/uncontested divorce without children,” “simplified dissolution,” and so on.

Some government sites allow you to download these printable forms, so you can start filling out your forms immediately. Sounds pretty convenient, but it’s not that simple in actuality.

This way of getting divorce forms is attractive due to its affordability; however, you should be absolutely certain that you have picked the proper forms. They can be pretty tricky, so if the site does not provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide through the dissolution process, you may easily miss some of them.

And if you have to start all over again, having found a mistake too late, in court, you will probably waste a lot of time. The same applies to filling out divorce forms. It is not as easy as it seems since there are a lot of paperwork subtleties which can be challenging for those who have not faced court proceedings and strict legal regulations before.

You should fairly assess your capacity in advance. Remember that the forms provided by the state court website might be unsuitable for a particular county. Additionally, information provided by the state is relevant but incomplete. It should be viewed as a brief description, which is of a purely introductory nature.

Online divorce services

Another way to get divorce papers online is to use the assistance of an online divorce service.

These are companies which are not legal firms, meaning they do not provide legal advice or assistance in the court but help with the paperwork. Online divorce is an excellent alternative for couples who want to arrange an uncontested divorce without a lawyer but are not willing or able to handle all the boring and complicated prep work.

Roughly speaking, though these companies do not help deal with the divorce process itself, they let you avoid red tape and ease your further steps in court. In the case of uncontested divorce, good preparation is half the battle.

The operational principle of these services usually begins with the customer logging in to the online divorce website and answering questions concerning the conditions of their dissolution case. The customer’s answers allow the system to form a general vision of the divorce in question, with which it adapts the divorce forms to the relevant state and county laws and rules and gathers the full required paperwork kit.

All the essential details of the case are taken into account, so even the rarest of divorce forms are not forgotten if they are needed. Typically, divorcing spouses favor online divorce companies due to the speed of service. The client may receive a completed, ready-to-be-signed paperwork package in PDF format online within a couple of days (usually between one and three business days), which is to be printed and submitted to the court at a convenient time.

Unlike court sites, online divorce services are not free. Nevertheless, as the cost of online divorce services is significantly less than attorney fees for the same uncontested cases, people find the price of around $120-400 fair.

They don’t have to worry about whether the forms were correctly selected, whether they were filled out correctly, whether they will be accepted by the court, and so on. During a divorce, there are plenty of stressful situations and things requiring time already, so it’s no surprise that online divorce has become a real godsend for plenty of couples.

Choosing the right online divorce service from numerous similar platforms is essential. In the wake of this service’s popularity boom, a lot of fly-by-night companies have appeared, so you should carefully read customer reviews and the websites themselves.

Some online divorce companies, eager to prove their reliability, offer refunds in the event that the court does not accept the paperwork.

Regardless, it is up to you to decide, but you should be responsible and feel positive about the options. As you see, getting affordable divorce papers online is not only possible but also very easy, and remember – this is a great start and a key part of your no-hassle divorce.

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