divorce doesn

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.

The post Planning Your Dream Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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.

The post Personal, Property, and Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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.

The post DIY Divorce Or Divorce Online: What You Need To Know appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Who Will Pay Attorney’s Fees During Your Divorce?

who will pay attorney's fees during your divorce

 

The attorney’s fees in a divorce case can be paid in several different manners depending on all the circumstances in the case and trial. Learn the different manners of paying attorney fees for two spouses in a divorce.

Who Will Pay Attorney’s Fees During Your Divorce?

Can I Get My Ex to Pay My Legal Fees?

A contested divorce can escalate in costs rapidly to tens of thousands of dollars although a simple uncontested divorce may cost less than $1,000. Expenses can add up quickly when you have a contested divorce that requires many court appearances by your attorney and hours of preparation for the hearings.

Real estate appraisers and forensic accountants are additional costs in a divorce. A divorce judge will award your spouse with a portion or all of your attorney’s fees in some distinct cases. It is at the discretion of the court as to the amount and the court is considered to be an expert on all attorney’s fees.

A Level Playing Field

In most states, spouses are responsible for paying their own legal fees and costs incurred in a divorce proceeding. However, several exceptions can exist, especially when one spouse earns a considerably higher amount of wages than the other does.

It would be unfair for the higher paid spouse to pay a top-notch attorney and leave the other spouse without an attorney because they can’t afford one. At times, the state may order the wealthier spouse to pay all attorney fees and court costs of their spouse.

A judge can order the spouses to liquidate some of their marital assets so that your legal fees can be paid. Generally, this works by the court deducting what you received to pay your attorney from your share of the liquidated asset at the finalization of the divorce. Your lawyer was hired by you and worked for you to protect your best interests and therefore should be your costs.

Some Fault Based Issues

Judges generally do not order one spouse to pay the other spouse’s legal fees due to marital misconduct, which led to the divorce. For example, if your spouse commits adultery and the grounds upon which you file for divorce, your judge most likely won’t order your spouse to pay your legal fees as a punishment for their misbehavior. Now if your spouse was inflicting spousal abuse on you several times during the marriage and there is evidence of this fact, the court may tell your spouse to pay all your legal fees and costs.

If your spouse is dragging out the litigation process by filing motions that are unnecessary or if they are refusing to cooperate, then some courts will order them to pay your legal fees as a form of compensation for their actions during the case. It’s not usually the entire amount you owe for your divorce, but he may have to pay for the court costs for additional appearances that were brought about because of his bad behavior.

A Few More Options

You need to clear some other options with your attorney before you act on them. You may be able to cash in a retirement account, but if you contributed to the account during your marriage, it is most probably considered marital property, making it a shared asset between you and your spouse.

Ask your attorney also before liquidating any assets. If the court finds that it’s okay to do so and generate money for your fees and costs in the divorce, your spouse will likely put up a big fuss, but the court has the option to do so and then deduct the money from your share of marital property upon finalization of the divorce decree. You may also consider borrowing money from a family member, taking out a loan in your name solely and paying the loans back after the divorce.

Professional Funding May Be a Choice

If there is no way possible that you can pay your attorney’s fees and legal costs associated with your divorce, you can ask your divorce attorney about any private investors who may be willing to fund your divorce in exchange for a portion of the assets you will receive when the decree is finalized.

Some attorneys may occasionally be willing to take their fees after the case is over and after you get your share of assets—but this is definitely not the norm. You can also ask your lawyer about a payment plan for his fees on a monthly basis, but you will still need to pay the experts’ fees that are necessary to prepare your case for you.

All awards for attorney fees are final judgments from the court and being such, all are appealable. If you believe the awarded fees are too high or unjust, either party may appeal the judgment.

The court system wants to award attorney fees in the proper manner without bias to any person. Their job is to make the right choice that is not too little, not too much or simply unjust to either party. That being said, the awards are highly discretionary and the case law gives no exact lines to follow.

You should be able to be armed with the knowledge you need when getting a divorce about attorney’s fees, legal fees and court costs and who should pay them. Do keep in mind that you have a few alternatives to consider.

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The Right Way To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

Here’s The Right Way To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

The Right Way To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

 

Talk about a tricky conversation, announcing you want a divorce is not something any of us look forward to. It may mean facing conflict; it may mean hurting your spouse and most of us shy away from either of those situations.

How you tell your spouse will greatly depend on whether or not divorce has been a subject of discussion in the past or your husband is under the impression that all is well in the marriage.

If there have been discussions of divorce in the past, breaking the news that you’ve decided to divorce should be met with less conflict, anger and hurt feelings. If your spouse is unaware of your unhappiness this is going to be a hard conversation to have.

Whatever has been going on in the marriage you should always consider how the news is going to affect your spouse emotionally. In other words, don’t let your fear of telling your spouse you want a divorce to tempt you to do something that will only make the situation worse.

This article is born out of my initial divorce experience. I wasn’t given the “talk.” I came home from work one day with my child and my husband had packed up and left without any notice. The way he left the marriage not only impacted me greatly, but it also caused my daughter to lose all trust in her father. This is a subject I take seriously because I’ve lived the damage that can be done by someone who let the fear of having a discussion about divorce do a lot of harm to all concerned.

How Not To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

  • Don’t skip the divorce conversation and go straight to having your spouse served with divorce papers. This tactic is an easy out but the easy is only momentary. You want to piss someone off and start a war? Serve them divorce papers out of the blue!
  • Don’t pack your bags and leave one day never to return again. I mean seriously, is this really the mature way of dealing with a subject as serious as divorce and dismantling a family? My ex pulled this one on me. It sends a clear message, says “I’m out of here” in a way that can’t be misinterpreted but you may find it hard to live with your cowardice once the dust settles.
  • Don’t tell your spouse’s family and friends before you break the news to your spouse. Divorce is hard enough when it is between two people only. Bring the rest of your community into it and you not only muddy the waters you look a bit foolish also.

How To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

  • Sit them down, share your feelings and express your desire for a divorce.
  • Allow them to respond to your desire for a divorce. It’s important that they are given the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings.
  • Validate their feelings but let them know you’ve made up your mind and will be moving forward with a divorce.
  • Tell them you will be filing for a divorce and they will be served with divorce papers and then, politely excuse yourself from the conversation.

Dealing with Your Spouse’s Reaction

If your spouse is surprised by your desire for a divorce, there will more than likely be a lot to deal with once you share your feelings. “Dealing” means being able to take into consideration the needs of the spouse you are leaving.

Let’s look at the situation from the perspective of your feelings. Divorce is something you’ve been thinking about for a long time. You’ve put effort into being happy, you’ve come to terms with the fact that you can’t stay in the marriage and more than likely have already emotionally divorced yourself from your spouse.

In other words, you’ve already worked your way through feelings of loss, hopelessness, and depression and have now detached from your spouse and the marriage.

When you share with your unknowing spouse that you want a divorce, they’re going to begin the process of working through those feelings of loss, hopelessness, depression and a myriad of other negative emotions.

You are ahead of your spouse in the grieving process that comes along with divorce. I spoke with a man recently who was surprised by his wife’s reaction to the news that he wanted a divorce.  He told me that she was “fragile” and, “seems to be falling apart.” He couldn’t understand why she wasn’t sharing his sense of relief and had no idea how to deal with her behavior.

There can be a HUGE contrast between what you are feeling and what your spouse will feel once told of the divorce. You are ready to move on with your life, your spouse will question how you are ready to move on so quickly and be hurt by the fact that you are.

It is always helpful to the spouse being left behind if the spouse leaving can show compassion and empathy for their pain. It may not be easy to be around the person you’ve hurt but taking the time to give your spouse closure is something you won’t regret down the road.

When a spouse is left and handed an unwanted divorce, they feel like they’ve lost control over the path of their marriage and plans for their future. You, the spouse who wants the divorce are now in control and if you behave badly toward the spouse you are leaving this will only promote more conflict and do more emotional harm.

I’m not telling you that you must like your spouse’s reaction. More than likely there will be some very unlikeable response to your desire to divorce. I do believe that showing compassion for what he is experiencing and the transition they are going through will make the process of divorce easier for all involved.

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5 steps to take when leaving a bad marriage

5 Steps To Take When Leaving a Bad Marriage

5 steps to take when leaving a bad marriage

 

Leaving a bad marriage is not easy so if you’ve decided you want a better life and are putting an end to a toxic marriage, bravo! Recognizing that you’re in a bad situation is hard enough but then respecting and loving yourself enough to say you’re truly done is daunting but doable if you are truly ready to leave.

Here are 5 steps to take when leaving a bad marriage: 

1. Therapy

Can you afford therapy? If you’re leaving a bad marriage, you will need support and to work through the issues that have built up during the marriage. Another great reason to try therapy? When leaving a bad marriage, you may be tempted many times to go back to your ex and a therapist can support you on your journey towards a healthy you and either rebuilding a healthier marriage or, a healthier life ahead outside of the marriage. Many therapists will work on a sliding scale and if you cannot afford it, try speaking to someone you trust like a pastor or rabbi, etc.

2. Finances

Are you working or, are you a stay-at-home parent? If you aren’t, will you need to support yourself?  Most likely the answer is yes so start applying to jobs, even if you find something that’s simply right for the meantime. Any bit of money earned is a step towards your independence, which is crucial when leaving a bad marriage.

If you’re already working and you are the breadwinner of the family, stop and consider how divorce will impact your earnings. Speak to a local attorney and find out your state’s laws on child support and spousal support.

Let’s also not forget any debt you and your soon-to-be-ex may have. Are you prepared for how that could be divided during a divorce? Important things to consider.

More financial factors:

  • Do you have a bank account in your name only? If not, open one. What about a credit card? Open one as well.
  • If you’re a stay-at-home parent, can you brush up your resume because you will need to work after divorce? And can you find family or loved ones to help with childcare when you return to work?

3. See a Lawyer

If you are determined to divorce and your spouse isn’t willing to use a mediator, which is a more affordable option than a litigated divorce. Most lawyers will do free consults and will give you a decent idea of what you are heading into financially and if you have children, with regards to custody. It never hurts to be prepared and no: don’t tell your partner you’re consulting with a lawyer!

4. Line Up the Troops

If you have kids, start lining up support now. It is hard being a single parent so having family and/or friends, who will help you and your kids through the transition, especially if it’s an ugly toxic marriage, will be immeasurable. Some family may have a hard time agreeing with your situation even if the marriage is that bad, so tell family members you can count on to be helpful on this journey.

5. Mantras/ Stress Outlets

Ending a marriage whether it was a good or bad marriage is emotionally taxing. Start finding ways to decompress whether it’s through meditation, yoga, reading, weekly meet-ups with a friend for a beer, coffee, a football game, or a manicure, or going for a run.

Even more pressing, start to work on your way of thinking and how you view yourself and your ability to handle divorce stress. Daily positive mantras such as: “I deserve a better life” or “This will get better” or “I am whole on my own” are good ways to mentally train yourself to want better for yourself and help you through the dark periods of separation and divorce.

The bottom line? You deserve to be happy and if your bad marriage is not fixable, don’t feel bad about walking away.

The post 5 Steps To Take When Leaving a Bad Marriage appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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prioritize, simplify and organize your divorce

How To Prioritize, Organize and Simply Your Divorce

prioritize, simplify and organize your divorce

 

Taking the approach to Prioritize, Organize and Simplify your divorce from the beginning will make the divorce process easier, reduce the potential stress levels, and help with securing the outcomes you would like to achieve.

This approach applies before, during, and after the divorce process.  In fact, it really applies to all aspects of your life. Some key matters to focus on (and this approach covers all of them) are your mental, your financial, your children’s wellbeing.  In the end, there is a high-level checklist.

Let’s see how Prioritize, Organize and Simplify your divorce works.

Prioritize: Take the time to think about what you would realistically like once this is all over.  When starting the divorce process this could include the custody of your children and their wellbeing, your wellbeing, financial security and more.  Reach out to me for more in-depth Priorities Worksheet to work from.

One may need to learn new skills, for example managing your finances and creating a budget because your partner always handled these important matters. Take a little time to think about what you need down the road and do not let less important matters cloud attaining this outcome. You and your children will be better off if you understand ahead of time what you are working towards.

Organize: Create a game plan!  Remember the divorce is only the first step you will take toward your future. This may take the support of a variety of professionals and today you have more skilled professionals than ever – attorneys, financial counselors, divorce coaches, therapists and more. You may be able to group some priorities together.

For instance, as you are struggling, you can bet your children are too. Find help for both you and your children (and having the same person may not always be the best idea).

Simplify: Your life is about to become a whirlwind and very complicated. Making a game plan, sharing it with a trusted professional, and being held accountable to it will reap many rewards. Often you may want to work with a professional to make sure you simplify.

One example is to work with a financial counselor. A financial counselor can help you set up a realistic budget and help you learn to manage your daily finances. This will let you know what your quality of life will look like which, in turn, will reduce much of the fear you would otherwise experience without that knowledge.

Creating the budget is one major step to making sure your finances are simplified (not just when going through the divorce process, but after also. In fact, tweaking that initial budget is essential).  It can also simplify your negotiations and positioning as you know what you need moving forward – especially if you have prioritized what assets and alimony you would like. This can empower you and build your confidence.

You will be stronger as you knock off items on your priority list mentioned above.  Having a good attorney can simplify the mediation and/or court process significantly (working with an attorney in some capacity is critical – I would not recommend “you go it alone”).  Working with a divorce coach and/or therapist can simplify your daily activities and angst.

Below is a high-level checklist for you to think through.

Please contact me for a more comprehensive list:

  1. Meet with an attorney
  2. Meet with a financial counselor
  3. Meet with a mental health professional (make sure your children do too)
  4. Make sure you communicate (appropriately) with your children
  5. Complete a financial inventory (take pictures for proof whenever possible) and have copies of all financial records in your financial inventory
  6. Understand the household bills and expenditures currently incurred
  7. Change all your passwords and ensure your privacy
  8. Create a support network
  9. Change your will and beneficiaries (check with your attorney as to when is legally permitted and appropriate)
  10. Be careful not to do anything illegal or inappropriate (in some states moving money may be deemed illegal). Check with your attorney.

Hopefully, this has helped you in prioritizing your thoughts. We would love your thoughts and comments on what we have shared or if you would like for us to expand on any of the ideas shared here.

Hirsch Serman, MBA, CPA is the founder of Lifecycle Financial, a company that helps those going through Divorce and other life cycle changes to navigate the financial pitfalls of a new life dynamic.  The company was founded through personal experiences in divorce and watching the changes in an aging parent.

The post How To Prioritize, Organize and Simply Your Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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when entering the divorce process

2 Vital Steps To Take When Entering The Divorce Process

when entering the divorce process

 

If you are in the early stages of divorce there are two vital steps that you must take to prepare for this challenging transition. Most believe, when it comes to divorce, all they need to do is hire an attorney and let that attorney take care of the rest. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Attorney’s make mistakes and they are nowhere as near invested in your post-divorce welfare as you are. It’s imperative that you know what happens during the divorce process in your jurisdiction, how assets and debts are handled and most importantly, how the custody of your children will be impacted. There is nothing more important during divorce than you having knowledge, knowledge, knowledge about what to expect during the divorce process.

When Entering The Divorce Process:

1. Educate Yourself

The Legal Process:

We experience so many changes and have to make many decisions during divorce, it is essential to learn all that we can about the process. One of the most important facts to know is that divorce court does not judge us or our spouse. Barring serious abuse or physical danger, divorce court does not determine who is right or wrong, good or bad. If you are looking for justice, you will not find it in divorce court. A legal divorce is basically the business of deciding custody and allocating finances.

Your Finances

Custody aside, divorce is about money. Understanding our finances requires that we gather information on all our assets, debts and income streams as well as the laws regarding maintenance and child support. If we are not the person in charge of our finances, this can feel overwhelming.

On our site, we have checklists available for you to begin the process. You will need to find and copy documents, make inquiries, and most important, enlist the support of a professional. They are financial planners, financial advisors, and Divorce Certified Financial Advisors. The key is finding the right professional that is not only an expert in their field but also has the personality style that enables us to feel comfortable and trust them.

The Children

The issue of child support is one of the most straightforward. There is a calculation based on gross income and the number of children. In some states, there are additional criteria in calculating support. It is best to ask a matrimonial attorney to clarify the support laws in our state.

There are so many details when considering custody. If our children are young, it is easy to get caught in negotiating from the perspective of parenting young children. Keep in mind that they grow into teenagers and will often choose who if anyone they want to spend time with and then they are off to college. A good custody schedule balances the support the children need when young and the flexibility that they will want (and demand) as they grow older.

The details of when, where and how are better ironed out in the agreement so that we don’t emerge with different interpretations of what the agreement means. As well, things like purchasing cars, car insurance, additional tutoring support in college if not listed in the agreements are not the responsibility of the non-custodial parent. Even if our children are young, it is important to think through their future needs and include them in our agreement. The more thought we give our agreement; talking to other divorced parents who can share what they forgot to add or the challenges they faced will better be equipped us to create a solid agreement and cooperative co-parenting relationship.

2. Enlist Support

If we were to visit a foreign country, we would equip ourselves with a guide to translate, an itinerary, and a map. Embarking on divorce requires the same support. There are three key support people that will enable us to move through your divorce effectively, efficiently and affordably. It may feel counterintuitive to hire all these people as a way to save money. However, attorneys are not schooled in either finances or emotional support and their fees are the highest. When we rely on our attorney to be all things, often we spend significantly more, and post-divorce find ourselves still immersed in pain, anger, fear and uncertainty and unsure of our financial future.

Hiring A Coach

Divorce is an emotional roller coaster. There is a lot to process which requires we talk through fears, regrets, worries, uncertainties, etc. It is easy to get stuck in chaos and confusion. Speaking to a divorce coach enables us to get clear on what our priorities are, create a strategic plan to stay on track moving forward and get gentle non-judgemental support in the way of a sounding board and accountability.

Finding A Financial Expert

Financial advisors and planners can help us to understand what we have and what we will need to maintain our lifestyle in the future. If we need to cut back, they can show us where and how. If we will be responsible for investing our assets for the first time, they can guide us in best practices. If we need assistance creating our ‘networth’ document (the main financial document upon which your settlement is negotiated) for our attorney, they can guide us in that. Financial experts are schooled in finances, lawyers are not. Finding one that we trust EARLY ON in the process and having their support throughout the process will minimize our fear and anxiety around our future financial security.

Choosing An Attorney

There are different type of divorces…mediation, collaboration, and litigation. Then within each of these, there are many different personalities. All too often I have seen clients hire their soon-to-be-ex’s personality in their matrimonial attorney and then feel intimidated, abused and unempowered throughout the process. Interview at least three attorneys. Bring a friend as it is overwhelming. Decide what is important. Besides someone who is capable of ‘standing up’ to our spouse, what do we need? Someone who is patient and explains things to us? Someone who responds to us when we reach out? Someone who is gentle when we are struggling?

Put together a list and remember, we are INTERVIEWING the attorney. Make sure it is a good fit as this is our most important relationship during the transition of divorce.

Search Journeybeyonddivorce.com for articles on learning how to budget, financial support, divorce court, and any other issue or emotion you want to read more about.

Reach out and ask us for a referral if you are looking for a professional and don’t know where to turn.

Request a complimentary coaching session and begin to receive the support and create the strategies that will enable you to emerge stronger, clearer and more excited about your future.

The post 2 Vital Steps To Take When Entering The Divorce Process appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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who gets the engagement ring after divorce

A Painful Reminder of The Past: Who Gets The Engagement Ring After Divorce?

who gets the engagement ring after divorce

 

There is no doubt that going through divorce is a difficult process.  It wears you down financially, emotionally and physically.  A common area of contention in divorce is the very symbol of the marriage itself – the engagement ring. A symbol of the excitement of what the future may hold now becomes a painful reminder of the past.

In 2018, Business Insider reported that American men spent an average of $6,351 on an engagement ring.  With the CDC reporting over 2 million marriages and 800,000 divorces per year in the United States alone, many individuals wonder what to do with the ring upon divorce.

Regardless of any sentimental value, the engagement ring is by itself best treated as an asset – and a costly one at that.  Like all assets, the engagement ring is one that must be dealt with upon divorce.

Be it a separation over an unfaithful spouse, mutual disinterest, or simply for economic reasons, one question remains pertinent – who gets the engagement ring after divorce?

What the Engagement Ring Means

Although marriage has changed significantly since the outset of the engagement ring, the meaning behind the ring has remained largely the same. Scholars have postulated different and distinct meanings of the engagement ring that reveal ancient ideological values of marriage.  These ideological values have survived to the present day in some shape or form, but one question remains – is the engagement ring merely a gift, is it is a symbol of love or is it representative of some type of legally binding agreement?

At its outset, scholars believed that the imagery of clasped hands often engraved onto ancient Roman wedding rings invoked the idea of a marital agreement. They also believed that the groom may have offered the engagement ring as a gift to embody the agreement of marriage and the additional responsibilities that come with it. In many ancient societies, the imagery symbolizes both a bond during life and a farewell in death – reminiscent of the poignant vow “until death do us part,” similar to that of modern society.

Who Should Keep the Ring?

Most states treat the engagement ring as a “conditional gift,” meaning that the receiving party is allowed to keep the ring on the condition that the marriage occurs.  Should the marriage not occur, the receiving party must return the ring. States that abide by this rule include Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In the state of Montana, engagement rings are treated as “unconditional gifts,” meaning that the receiving party will be allowed to keep the ring no matter what.

In California, Texas, and Washington, the engagement ring is treated as an “implied conditional gift.” Simply put, if a party backs out of the wedding, then the non-backing party can keep the ring.

More specifically in California, Civil Code Chapter 3 Section 1590 provides that “where either party to a contemplated marriage in this State makes a gift of money or property to the other on the basis or assumption that the marriage will take place, in the event that the [receiver] refuses to enter into the marriage as contemplated or that it is given up by mutual consent, the [giver] may recover such gift or such part of its value as may, under all of the circumstances of the case, be found by a court or jury to be just.”

The California statute states that any gift made in anticipation of marriage can be recovered by the giver in the event that the receiver no longer wants to become married, or both parties agree to no longer getting married.  Thus, if we consider the engagement ring a gift, this statute would entitle a groom to recover his engagement ring if his fiancée backs out of the engagement, or if they no longer agree to get married.

On the other hand, the landmark case of Simonian v. Donoian set a precedent that allows the receiver of the gift to keep that gift if the wedding is called off by the giver. The California Court of Appeals found that “the clear meaning of [Section 1590] is that the [receiver] of an engagement ring is entitled to retain possession thereof when the marriage contract is breached by the [giver] without any fault on [receiver’s] part.”  Thus, a fiancée would be entitled to retain possession of the engagement ring if the groom calls off the wedding unilaterally.

Additionally, engagement rings are sometimes considered to be a family heirloom. The Court of Appeals of Oregon found in the case of In re: Domestic Partnership of Ewing that the giver of a family heirloom ring was entitled to receive that ring back after separation.  However, it is always highly advised that future husbands and wives draft a prenuptial agreement when a family heirloom is involved.

The law can be unclear on who gets the engagement ring if the marriage is terminated at the fault of a giving party’s actions, such as an affair. There are arguments yet to be explored – the existence of common law marriage and contractual marriage lend credence to the notion that the engagement ring can symbolize some type of agreement, just as it did with the ancient Romans.

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