Divorce is never easy. Even in the best of circumstances, it requires time, a financial commitment, changing environments and sometimes circumstances–in many cases it means downsizing and losing the family home. If there are children, things quickly get more complicated as couples scramble to minimize the volatility for their kids. But Divorce doesn’t have to be chaotic and expensive. If a couple can agree on division of property and a parenting plan, they don’t need an attorney—we’ve helped hundreds of couples with uncontested Divorces since we opened our doors in 2010.
We recently helped a couple, John and Susan, who came in to our office on a Friday morning. They’d been married for ten years and had a five-year old daughter and a seven-year old son; they both had good jobs and owned their own home. They’d grown apart over the years and quarreled constantly. They knew they were creating an unhealthy atmosphere for their children. When their son’s teacher called to tell them that he had been acting out in school, they knew that it was time to face the reality of Divorce.
DIY Divorce not an option for this couple
While one of John’s coworkers had recommended a do-it-yourself (DIY) online application he and his wife had used for their Divorce, John and Susan knew that their situation was more complex and they needed professional help. They also knew that they could reach agreement on the division of property and that they’d be able to develop a custody and parenting plan that was fair and that would provide the least possible disruption for their kids.
A community property state means equal division of property
We met with John and Susan and explained how the Divorce process works. We gave them one of our workbooks, which they could begin filling out together. They needed to identify all of their assets–their respective cash and savings accounts, investments, life insurance policies, stock portfolios, 401k accounts, pension plans or other retirement accounts and real property, including the family home. They also needed to identify their debts, which are part of their shared responsibility.
Parenting Plan: the more detailed, the better
John and Susan’s biggest concerns were for their children, so creating a detailed parenting plan was the other important component. It was their hope that Susan could stay in the family home in San Leandro to provide stability. The kids would stay in the same school, in the same great neighborhood where they were surrounded by friends. It was John’s plan to buy or rent a home in the area so he and Susan could share parenting responsibilities. He planned to have the kids on the weekends, Susan during the week. They would divide up the holidays and summer vacations.
John and Susan took their workbook home with them where they had access to account information and could more easily fill out the necessary information and thoughtfully develop their parenting plan.
Time to deal with the logistics of Divorce
John and Susan finished filling out their workbook, and we prepared the legal documents to be signed and notarized. Their amicable Divorce was finalized in approximately seven months. While the Divorce process was evolving, John and Susan worked through the practical logistics of their Divorce—finding a new place for John to live, helping their small children understand that while their parents would be living apart, the important things in their lives wouldn’t change.
How we assist our clients with Uncontested Divorce
Just as with John and Susan, your first visit to DP Legal Solutions office is for the purpose of information gathering. You will meet with one of our professional family law specialists, who are kind and compassionate. This person will be available to you by phone and email throughout the process if you have questions or concerns.
- We will collect information about you, your family and your finances in our workbooks. Many of our clients take these workbooks home, where they have access to their online banking accounts and financial records, so they can complete this information in privacy and without feeling pressured.
- Second visit: Signing your petition and other disclosure documents. You’ll carefully review and sign your petition and all the documents that go along with it. This meeting is generally when you’ll pay the court-filing fee.
- Serving documents. This is the formal process of delivering the documents to your spouse, which can be done in person, by mail or by publication.
- Figuring out settlement.Division of assets and a parenting plan. This is the hardest part—developing a comprehensive plan for division of assets and debt and support and custody of your children.
If you’re facing Divorce or even starting to think about it, contact DP Legal Solutions today. Divorce is never easy, but our dedicated family law professionals work hard to make this as easy as possible for our clients.