1 comments

Ten Tips for Divorcing Couples With Children 
1. Never disparage your former spouse in front of your children. Because children know they are "part mom" and "part dad," the criticism can batter the child’s self-esteem.
2. Do not use your children as messengers between you and your former spouse. The less the children feel a part of the battle between their parents, the better.
3. Reassure your children that they are loved and that the divorce is not their fault. Many children assume that they are to blame for their parents’ hostility.
4. Encourage your children to see your former spouse frequently. Do everything within your power to accommodate the visitation.
5. At every step during your divorce, remind yourself that your children’s interests – not yours – are paramount, and act accordingly. Lavish them with love at each opportunity.
6. Your children may be tempted to act as your caretaker. Resist the temptation to let them. Let your peers, adult family members and mental health professionals be your counselors and sounding board. Let your children be children.
7. If you have a drinking or drug problem, get counseling right away. An impairment inhibits your ability to reassure your children and give them the attention they need at this difficult time.
8. If you are the non-custodial parent, pay your child support. The loss of income facing many children after divorce puts them at a financial disadvantage that has a pervasive effect on the rest of their lives.
9. If you are the custodial parent and you are not receiving child support, do not tell your children. It feeds into the child’s sense of abandonment and further erodes his stability.
10. If at all possible, do not uproot your children. Stability in their residence and school life helps buffer children from the trauma of their parents’ divorce.
- From the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
To assist parents contemplating, undergoing or recovering from divorce, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has a publication individuals can request, free of charge, Stepping Back From Anger, Protecting Your Children During Divorce. Individuals can order a copy by calling 1-877-4THE-KIDS.

5 comments

How long does it take to complete an online divorce in the state of Texas?

When considering an online divorce in the state of Texas, the first question that most have is "how long does it take?"


The first consideration for a couple seeking divorce is where to file.  One files in the county/state of residence, not of the marriage. There are residency requirements and waiting periods involved with all states/provinces.


Here is the residency requirement for divorce for the state of Texas:


The Petitioner or the Respondent must have been: (1) a resident of this state for the preceding six-month period; and (2) a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for 90-days.


Here is the waiting period for divorce for the state of Texas:

There is a 60-day waiting period between the time you file the Petition and the time that the Final Decree is granted.

The steps of the divorce process when one uses an online divorce site such as OurDivorceAgreement.com are dramatically simplified compared to what one would go through when engaging lawyers to handle the entire process, because many of the extraneous and conflict-riddled steps are avoided.
 
Once the couple has decided where to file, they can choose an online divorce site.  Considerations for this decision should include how long it takes to complete the site, how long it takes to get the completed documents, price and service.  OurDivorceAgreement.com compares favorably in all of these respects, but I urge you to research the field thoroughly to make the best decision.

Complete the documents on the online divorce site.  The essential elements of any divorce are summarized in a previous article.

One often misunderstood detail regarding listing your assets and debts is that many couples believe that if they agree on the division of property or their child rights and responsibilities, then they do not need to detail these items in their Property Settlement Agreement and Child Care Plan (if they have minor children.)

We'll give more detail regarding this common misconception in a future article, but this misconception needs to be thoroughly debunked.  Generally, anything that was accumulated during the marriage and all child care decisions need to be included in the Agreement.  Otherwise, if there were to be a dispute after the divorce, the Court would have no record of the item(s) in question.

Once the divorce documents are completed, they should be signed and notarized (if they call for a notary signature.)  Usually, your local bank will notarize documents at no charge if you are a bank customer.

We recommend that each spouse using an online divorce site have separate attorneys review their Agreement to make sure it is in each person's best interest.  We believe this is cheap "insurance" to make sure what you are about to sign is truly in your best interest. Many attorneys will be happy to provide an hour or so of pure legal advice if requested.  When seeking this service, be sure you clearly state that you have been through mediation (online divorce is a form of self-guided mediation) and that you would like to engage the attorney strictly for the purpose of reviewing your Agreement prior to filing. 

Make it clear that you have the filing documents and that you are not asking him or her to represent outside of this limited function.  We are not aware of this being a legal requirement in any state but we urge you to do so to protect yourself in what may be one of the largest financial transactions of your life. We will speak to this issue in greater detail in a future article.
Once you have signed the Agreement and have gotten a legal review (if you chose to do so), you are now ready to file your divorce papers.  We recommend that you take 2-3 copies of all documents to the clerk's office of the divorce court in your county.  This court is named differently by state, but if you go into any county courthouse and ask for the court that handles divorces, you will be directed to the correct one.

We recommend that you DO NOT take your documents to be filed first thing on Monday mornings, right before lunch or closing time in the afternoons - especially late on Friday afternoons or late afternoon the day before a holiday.  Court clerks are human and they are usually overworked, underpaid and underappreciated.  Choosing the ideal time can go a long way towards making your filing experience more pleasant and smooth.  Be cordial but firm with the clerk.  Act like you own the place (because you do! ;).  Your tax money and filing fees keep the office open and operating.

Do not expect the clerk to give you legal advice - or much of any advice for that matter.  They operate under strict rules that prevent them from advising you.  They should be courteous to you and should answer direct questions about the process.  But you should not expect them to be overly helpful.  Please express appreciation and maybe even give their supervisor a positive review of your service, if the clerk goes out of their way for you.

Expect the clerk to take some of your documents and to ask you to keep others until the waiting period is over.  This will vary by state.  Some courts will have a data sheet they will ask you to complete while you are there filing your other documents.

You will pay a filing fee at the time of filing.  This averages $150 nationally, and varies significantly by state.  Filing fees are usually only accepted in the form of a check, cash or money orders.  Some courts are beginning to accept credit cards.

The clerk will tell you whether the judge in your case requires a hearing to complete your divorce.  If so, she/he will tell you when that will be or how you will be notified.  If the Court does not require a hearing, you will be notified by mail if/when the Court finalizes your divorce.

(Nothing in this article is intended to be considered "legal advice."  An online divorce site can give you the tools to complete your divorce but, there is no substitute for sound legal advice from a lawyer from your jurisdiction looking at your situation strictly from your point of view when seeking a divorce.)


For more information, contact mark.stein@OurDivorceAgreement.com or +1 502 897 3020.

1 comments

What does "custody" involve when one is getting an online divorce?

When couples confront the decision to divorce, they confront a lot of unknowns and that usually creates fear and confusion.  When minor children are involved, the term "custody" is one of the first to arise.

You can find a legal definition of "custody" here.

As a divorce mediator for the past twenty-five years and the creator of an online divorce site, let me describe and discuss the terms to the best of my ability.

Custody can be viewed in two aspects – physical and legal.

Physical custody relates to where the children are and when, in terms of week-to-week, weekends, holidays and special days.

Legal custody relates to decision-making and has nothing to do with where the children are.  Legal custody relates to the major areas of decision-making like health, education and religion, and of lesser importance, some general welfare issues like how decisions are made regarding extra-curricular activities.

Sole means resting exclusively with one party.  Primary means resting largely with one party.  Joint means approximately equal or one half.  Shared is a vague term that may be acceptable when the others are not.

What I suggest – as a mediator and with the use of the online divorce site, http://www.ourdivorceagreement.com/ – is that you complete all of the sections that relate to physical and legal custody, then take a look at the two aspects and call them what they appear to be. This cuts down on the tendancy to "grab" for the kids using the concept of custody.

You can "mix and match" these two aspects of custody in any way that works for your situation.  For example, if you wish to equally share decision-making but one of you have the children more than 50% of the time, this could be considered joint legal/primary physical custody.  If one will have more of the decision-making authority but you are sharing the children equally, this could be considered primary legal/joint physical custody.  My point is that I urge couples to define the specific situation they want, then call it what it appears to be.

We recommend that each party consult with separate attorneys prior to signing the agreement.  The attorneys can help assess what you have created to find the best term for each aspect of custody.

If you have further questions, please contact us at support@ourdivorceAgreement.com or +1 502 897 3020.

(Nothing in this article should be considered to be "legal advice."  An online divorce site can give you the tools to complete your divorce but, there is no substitute for sound legal advice from a lawyer from your jurisdiction looking at your situation strictly from your point of view when seeking a divorce.)

0 comments

From a recent client email:

This is a fantastic product. ...I had no idea where to begin (even though we have no kids and neither of us are contesting anything). This is giving us a fast and easy way to just get this over and done with. I'm so glad I found your site!  - KT

0 comments

Can We Use an Online Divorce Site If We Live in Different States?

When using an online divorce, many people are puzzled as to where to file when they live in different states.

First, let's clear up a commonly misunderstood fact.  You file in your county of the state/province of current residence, not of the marriage.  (If one had to file in the state of the marriage, many divorcing couples would have to return to Las Vegas to get their divorce!)

Each state has a residency requirement and a waiting period - the time period between the date of filing and the date the divorce can become final. Waiting periods vary widely - from 18 months in New Jersey to no waiting period in New Hampshire and Nevada.

For your information and convenience, here is a link that includes the residency requirements and waiting period information for most US states:
http://www.ourdivorceagreement.com/quick_ref_state_q&A.htm

If the waiting period is close to the same in both states, we usually suggest that the spouse who is the most motivated to get the divorce be the one who files.  This will ensure that the paperwork is filed promptly and that any follow-up is done in a timely manner.

If there is any question about your ability to file, we suggest you contact the clerk of your county divorce court that you want to file in and they should be able to tell you if you meet the state's requirements.

With some online divorce sites, such as www.OurDivorceAgreement.com, you can both go online at the same time to work on the site.  You can work also on the documents at different times. (Check our faq once you login for details.) Or you can create a draft agreement and present it to the other spouse and once it is agreeable, one spouse can go online, print out everything, sign them and send them to the other to file.

Once you complete your paperwork, you then file them with the clerk of the divorce court in your county.  You will pay filing fees to the court at that time.  Filing fees vary by jurisdiction.  The clerk should be able to tell you what they are for your jurisdiction.  Some courts insist that you appear before a judge in a hearing and some simply allow you to file the completed forms with the clerk.  Again, the clerk in your jurisdiction should be able to tell you the procedure.

If your court requires a hearing, it will be brief and usually only the one who is filing must appear.  The judge will ask a few questions to make sure the wife is not now pregnant and that both of you truly agree to the terms of your divorce Agreement.

If you are not required in your court to appear before the judge, the court will send you confirmation that your divorce has been finalized.

(The information presented in this article is general and informational and is not intended and should not be intrepreted as legal advice.  There is no substitute for sound legal advice specific to your exact situation and locale.)

 

2 comments

New Year, New Beginnings:
Cooperative Couples Compete for a Divorce a Week in January.

With the passing of the holiday season, the New Year brings yearnings for new beginnings from couples who have put off divorce due to the long soured economy.
Our online divorce service, OurDivorceAgreement.com - among the first, launched in 2002 – has seen a significant increase in the number of couples delaying divorce until they are poised to remarry. 
To call greater attention to our cost-effective, quick, and cooperative method of divorce, OurDivorcAgreement.com is giving away one online divorce a week for the month of January to cooperative couples who share the most compelling pre-divorce story.
Contestant couples must be in agreement to divorce and agree to the terms of the division of assets, debts and child responsibilities.  They may share their story of why they are the most deserving of a free online divorce (excluding court filing fees)via Facebook, Twitter, a video on Youtube, the divorce site’s blog, or email.
Of course, a Youtube video is likely to be a more compelling entry than a Twitter post, but we’re open to the most convincing story, no matter the medium.
OurDivorceAgreement.com provides instant online divorce documents that are state/province-specific and serves all of the US, Canada (except Quebec), Australia, UK, India, as well as the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas, Cayman Islands and St. Lucia. Relatively cooperative couples complete online forms to immediately generate their divorce documents.  The use of an online divorce site saves thousands of dollars in legal fees, as well as time and stress.
The price for the complete divorce package from OurDivorceAgreement.com is $149 in the US, and comparable when translated into the local currency of countries outside the US. There are no additional fees for couples with children, military families or other factors.
Winning couples will be chosen on the Saturday of each week in January and notified by email. Winners will need to agree to have their story (with the names changed to preserve anonymity) shared on our blog and other media.
Facebook: Entries can be made on the Ourdivorceagreement.com page.
Twitter entries: @OurDivorceAgt
Youtube entry: Create video and send link to support@ourdivorceagreement.com.
Blog entry: Reply to this post.
Email entry: support@ourdivorceagreement.com; put “Free divorce” in subject line.
Further questions about the contest can be posted here as a comment below.  Good luck!