A Quick Do-It-Yourself Divorce
I just heard from a client I worked with in June. She and her husband were in a very difficult situation. They owed much more than their house was worth, they could not sell the house for a couple of years because of a complication in the way they bought it, there was very little money in any retirement account, they had other debts, and they couldn’t afford for one of them to move out even though they had not been living as husband and wife for a long time. Over the course of four meetings, with some phone calls and emails between meetings, I helped them examine their options and develop a feasible plan that each thought was fair. They both thought it would be a good plan for their child, too. I wrote it up as a Memorandum of Understanding about Separation and Property Settlement and encouraged them to check with attorneys before signing it. They signed it near the end of June, the mom filed for divorce on her own, the dad waived service of process, and they are now divorced – less than a month after signing their shared plan. A tremendous amount of pressure has been relieved. Both parties are happy with the outcome. And, important to me, they have a good foundation for co-operating as parents and taking good care of their child, not putting the child in the middle of conflicts between the parents.
I first posted this story in July 2011, when I was not blogging much. Since then I have seen many other couples take similar paths. Making your divorce plan together truly works for a lot of people. Having a written plan for the judge to incorporate into an order speeds the process up dramatically.
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