Legal Hassles - Information

Harlan Jacobsen Copyright 2003


 

We held a Splitting Up Legal Aspect Workshop many years ago in Arizona and was a big success with many people in various stages of divorce attending.


    Most of which were people considering filing for divorce or in the process.

We put together a great deal of information for them and all considered it well worth the time.

    In researching the subject we found that 30% of divorce cases wind up back in court, quite often because it was not done right the first time.
    • In the workshop and from phone calls prior to the workshop we discovered most people that have been to a lawyer still do not know what is going on, they do not understand the process, they have no idea how to pick an attorney and often agree to something because that is the way they think it normally is or that is what they have to agree to.

They also sometimes refuse to agree to something because they think they are being taken advantage of when they are not.

When you know what usually happens when you go to trial (only about ten per cent of cases go to trial), then you can usually agree out of court and put together a negotiated settlement.

    Also covered was how to keep from running up your attorney bill, what to do to gain the advantage from the start before you file the divorce and how to negotiate for the best deal if you are a man and how to deal for the best deal if you are a woman.

Also popular in the seminar was the portion on doing your own divorce for under $50.00 and even how to become divorced if you didn't have a dime.

    One of the reasons for putting together the day long workshop on the legal and financial aspects of divorce was that the divorce recovery classes tend to stay away from the legal aspects entirely, since we are dealing there primarily with getting over or working thru the emotional adjustment period in a short time.

Several people in the classes have pointed out and encouraged us to run the splitting up workshop because they felt much of the traumatic effect could have been eliminated had they known before and during the divorce, what they know about divorce after the fact (too late).

    It is the unknown that causes much of the emotional stress, so understanding the process, what to expect, what not to expect, how to handle the legal situation to your best advantage and knowing whether your attorney is doing right by you calms the situation.

Some of the misconceptions we noted at the workshop are centered around the house.

    Many women had been convinced they were going to have to sell the house because their husband said it had to be sold so they could divide the equity.

    This is not necessarily true.

Usually, if there are children the wife will get the house (assuming she gets custody and she almost certainly will unless she is a child beater or completely incompetent) and the husband will get other assets to compensate for the house.

    Some work out a deal where the house stays with the children and care giver until they are 18, and then the house is to be sold and the proceeds split.

If she has no income or has never worked or cannot work because of the children she will probably get spousal maintenance (new word for alimony) for some period of time and one of the cost figures used to determine how much will be required is the cost of operating and maintaining the home.

    Courts like to maintain the children at the same standard as if there had been no divorce.

Nationally the figure for spousal and maintenance and child custody averages out at 35% or less of the husband's net salary.

    Some less and some more of course, but around that figure is where the judges try to operate.

Also covered was a new joint custody concept. If you are a husband it is to your advantage to make more of it alimony since that is tax deductible and less child support.

Particularly if she is in all likelihood to get married again soon (alimony stops.)

    If the children are almost grown then you want to make it all child support because it stops when they reach 18.

Also recommmended were putting in an escalator clause to compensate for inflation and save you having to go back into court later to get more money to compensate for rising prices.

    Put in a clause that says that when your husband's salary or earnings go up $1,000 your support payments go up $250 or $300.

Usually salaries go up in relation to inflation and this way your support payments go up in a fair ratio too.

    Also recommended was that your attorney ask for $1 spousal maintenance yearly, even though you might not want or need it.

If something should happen to you and you need it later you can go back in.

If there was not the $1, you cannot petition later if something happens.

    Also pointed out was the fact that you need to get as good a settlement as possible as far as the house, etc., is concerned for the children because receiving child support is often unreliable no matter how well intentioned everybody is right now.

An Indiana survey found for example that 85% of the fathers were either not paying at all or were behind, when a spouse loses his job, or gets married or gets injured or whatever or just decides he got rooked or is tired of the whole thing and skips, etc.

    We cannot cover here what we covered in five hours but we do now realize there is great anxiety and fear and a lot of what turns out to be stupid moves by people in the process due to lack of information or misinformation..

There is a great need for information about the legal process andneeds to be learned before the divorce is filed.

We suggest that you search and see if there are any such programs in your area and consider attending one of these workshops for pre-divorce and in the process..

    The information here is from many years ago in Arizona and laws and actions may be changed since we wrote it.

Also it is to be noted that each state has their own laws and procedures...so you need to find out what goes locallly..

    This article is rerun here just to jog you to do some research on the legal aspects (start with links below) in your state before filing and determing whether you can use "do it yourself" forms, with or without an attorney as a coach. Whether mediation and arbitration will be able to work out an agreement, or do you need to "retain" an attorney for a "contested divorce".




Related Information: What do I need to know about many such legal hazards


Related Information:How To Handle Your Legal Divorce


Related Information:Ten Ways To Save on Legal Divorce


Related Outside Very Helpful Links:
Attorneys Advice On Beating The System

Legal Divorce Research Information

Legal divorce short course....

Divorce: the real truth

 

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