Divorce Common Sense
Because divorce laws vary from state to state and must be processed by the court according to the rules of the state you live in, if you can afford it, it might be a good idea to at least consult a divorce attorney before you decide to start filing papers. You don’t want to create a legal and financial nightmare for yourself. Even if you do retain a lawyer, you will still have many decisions to make and it helps to understand how the process works.
The easiest way to research the topic of divorce is online of course. There are thousands of websites with content related to divorce as well as sites covering the legal, financial and family issues surrounding divorce too. Websites that are state-specific can provide you with the divorce documents you’ll need as well as information regarding the laws in your area. You can find divorce or family lawyers in your area and online research allows you to search for information regarding specific divorce issues like child custody or property division too.
You can also look into court-affiliated programs for divorcing parents available through local school’s or city governments. Some states require mandatory counseling for any divorcing parents that have dependant children in the home. The instruction revolves around improving family communication and making the divorce less traumatic for everyone involved. You could also consult a Certified Divorce Planner or a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst for more assistance in settlement negotiations and long-range financial planning. However, professional assistance can be expensive and the hourly rates can be nearly as high as the rates a divorce attorney would charge.
If both spouses are in disagreement about the terms of the divorce, there are less adversarial approaches available to traditional divorce litigation. Mediation and collaborative divorce can help to negotiate mutually acceptable resolutions to conflicts and might be significantly less expensive than litigation too. A divorce mediator can help foster discussion between spouses by assisting with the communication process and providing suggestions to help resolve differences. The goal is to create a mutually agreed upon settlement that can be submitted to the court. Although the terms of the divorce are ultimately determined by the court, they often will take into account agreements that the spouses have agreed on privately.
Fighting over the terms of a divorce in court only exacerbates the emotional, financial and psychological trauma for everyone involved. Not to mention that it is expensive. This is perhaps why over 90% of all divorces in the U.S. today are uncontested or no-fault affairs where both sides have come to court with a prior agreement on property, children and support issues. When both parties agree on the issues and present the judge with a mutually equitable agreement, it is almost a certainty that the divorce will be granted.