Divorce Article #2--Fairness and Equity in Parenting, Part 1
Fairness and Equity in Divorce--Is There Ever Any?
This divorce article is a step towards some fairness. When two people are divorcing while children are involved, who gets to decide what is best for the kids? If you are getting divorced, do you think it will be you? Think again…here are some details about divorce, parenting time, child support, and custody that you may not have realized.
Divorcing parents may speak about what “could” happen in their up and coming divorce, but the truth is, there is an arbitrary system already in place for how your situation will likely turn out. You see, unless you are willing to spend thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees, you are with the other 90 or so percent of Do It Yourselfers, who either choose an uncontested divorce, or end up with one because they just can’t afford the alternative—high priced legal fees.
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It is my biased opinion that paying attorneys for 10, 20, or 30+ hours of legal fees is simply unreasonable. We think they have the answers, and then, BAM, we find out that the answer that just cost $1,000 to obtain could have been found for free, if we are willing to do our own research. Thousands--maybe even millions—of spouses have ended their marriages in your county. Judges do not hear every minute detail of each case before slamming the gavel and moving onto the next divorce case of the day.
During my court date, my ex and I had already made all the decisions together, and we were in and out quickly. The judge did not need to intervene or make decisions for us. We opted to use the child support guideline, and that was it! It is therefore, safe to say that unless you are willing to hire an attorney, your case will be—or become—an uncontested, pro se divorce. This means that you will create your own documents and represent yourself in court. You may opt to have an online divorce service complete your documents for you, so you will not have the stress of knit-picking your own accuracy, you just provide the information and let the service knit-pick for you. Most individuals are choosing this option, as funds simply run out over the months of separation while preparing for divorce and the actual court date.
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Main reasons for a lack of funds:
- There wasn’t much money to begin with, or, one or both spouses is not working or laid off.
- Moving out and maintaining two residences is much more expensive than staying married.
- Paying attorneys is expensive, at $200+ per hour for each spouse, and for 10, 20, or 30+ hours.
- Child support or alimony may not actually be paid until it is officially court ordered. File for Child Support Now!
- Divorcing spouses' expenses for travel sometimes go up, such as for driving/tolls/gas, for one or both parties.
Real-Divorce is dedicated to providing good resources to it's readers, and deciding to have an uncontested divorce is a great way to stop the money you have left from flowing AWAY from your children
. If your divorce is going to be a "standard" type case, consider an online divorce and keeping the money you'd spend on attorneys to put toward your children's expenses or a college fund.
The cost of an online divorce varies from about $50-$300, with you completing the information using divorce software or a company completing it for you. Let's say the cost will be $300, just to be on the safe side. The cost of filing in your county--an estimate might be $150. That's a total of $450. Splitting that two ways, is $225 each. Not bad, considering that is less than an hour for an attorney's fee.
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IF you value your own opinion and wish to be responsible in the upbringing of your children, I really believe it's worth it to--as painstaking as it may be--sit with your soon-to-be-ex to discuss who gets what, and how you'll split your parenting time. Chances are, parenting time may not even be that different than it already is. So, what is there to fight about?
Remember, there is no fairness or equity, but you can be a PART of the process of your own divorce. You don't have to sit back and allow others to make decisions for you. If you step up with a good plan, you will feel a lot better about your decisions, and may even be able to establish a better relationship with your ex spouse. This would be helpful in the future for you and your children. Best of luck with this difficult task.
See Part 2 of this article.
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This article appeared first on Real-Divorce.com on June 17, 2011.