The Complete Divorce Handbook: A Practical Guide

Overview

Divorce? Now what?

Whether you want a divorce or are opposed to it, the process is not only a complicated emotional transition, but it can also turn into a detailed legal proceeding. Brette McWhorter Sember will become your advocate in The Complete Divorce Handbook, providing expert guidance on social, psychological, and financial issues in an easy-to-understand, caring manner. She examines such subjects as reasons for a divorce, what a legal separation means, how to handle a ...

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Overview

Divorce? Now what?

Whether you want a divorce or are opposed to it, the process is not only a complicated emotional transition, but it can also turn into a detailed legal proceeding. Brette McWhorter Sember will become your advocate in The Complete Divorce Handbook, providing expert guidance on social, psychological, and financial issues in an easy-to-understand, caring manner. She examines such subjects as reasons for a divorce, what a legal separation means, how to handle a divorce yourself or find an attorney to manage it for you, the benefits of medication, helping children cope with parental conflict, child and spousal support, planning for your future, and much more. A list of resources and sample forms round out this comprehensive handbook.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Retired divorce attorney and mediator Sember has written a new companion guide to the divorce process for attorneys and divorcing couples. His book does a good job of answering questions that attorneys face, such as how to behave in court, and includes an appendix with frequently asked questions. It would benefit from more case studies, or sample filled-in forms showing a case from start to finish. How does it compare with the gold standard, Emily Doskow's Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce? The Nolo book is geared more to those wanting to handle the case themselves, with checklists, sample forms, and a guide to legal research. Using boxes to highlight key points or introduce testimonials, the Nolo guide is easier to read. It is the superior book owing to its breadth of coverage, including international custody disputes and a chapter on military divorces. Still, Sember's Divorce Handbook is helpful. For general collections.
—Harry Charles

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402757976
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Do You Want or Need a Divorce? 5

Reasons for Divorce 6

How to Decide 7

Marriage and Family Therapy 9

Individual Therapy 12

Domestic Violence 12

Telling Your Spouse 13

Trial Separation 14

Understanding What Divorce Really Means 15

The Effects of Divorce 17

The Costs of Divorce 20

Divorce and Common-Law Marriage 23

If You Do Not Want a Divorce 25

2 Legal Separation 26

Legal versus Non-Legal Separation 26

How to Get a Legal Separation 28

Reasons for a Legal Separation 30

The Separation Agreement 30

What a Legal Separation Means 31

How to Live under a Separation Agreement 32

Separation as a Prelude to a No-Fault Divorce 34

Undoing a Separation 35

3 Family Court 37

Family Court Basics 37

How Family Court Can Help You 37

Family Court versus Divorce Court 38

How to Access Family Court 39

Preparing Family Court Documents 39

Family Court Hearings 40

What Family Court Cannot Do for You 40

4 First Steps in a Divorce 41

Protect Yourself and Your Children 41

Talk to Your Children 43

Tell the Important People in Your Life 44

Protect Your Assets 46

Control Your Spending 49

The Marital Residence 54

How to Find an Attorney 55

How to Evaluate an Attorney 55

How to Afford an Attorney 57

How to Handle a Divorce Yourself 58

Deciding What Type of Divorce You Want 59

How to Begin the Divorce Process 61

5 The Divorce Court Process 64

Understanding How Courts Work 64

Understanding the Roles of All the Players 65

How to Approach Your Divorce Case 66

Grounds 66

Covenant Marriage 67

Service of Process 69

How to Respond 70

Forms and Fees 71

Procedures 72

How to Streamline the Process 73

Howto Behave in Court and at Trial 74

Trial Procedures 75

Name Changes 76

Removal of Barriers to Remarriage 76

6 Divorce Mediation 77

How Mediation Works 78

How to Decide If Mediation Can Work for You 79

Benefits of Mediation 80

Drawbacks of Mediation 82

Costs 84

Mediator Qualifications 85

How to Find a Mediator 86

Why You Need an Attorney, as Well 87

Other Professionals and Mediation 87

Court-Ordered Mediation 88

Preparing for Mediation 89

Moving Mediation Along 90

The End Result of Mediation 95

What to Do If Mediation Is Not Successful 96

7 Other Alternatives to Divorce Trials 97

Arbitration 97

Collaborative Law 98

Co-Mediation 100

Shuttle Mediation 100

Attorney-Assisted Mediation 101

Long-Distance Mediation 102

Negotiating on Your Own 102

8 Children and Divorce 104

Helping Your Children through the Initial Separation 104

Types of Custody 105

How Custody Is Determined 106

Siblings 107

Supervised Visitation 107

Parenting Classes 108

Co-Parenting 108

Deciding Where Your Children Will Live 109

How to Create a Parenting Plan 110

UCCJEA 113

Grandparent Rights 114

Relocation 114

How to Deal with the Other Parent 115

Uncooperative Parents 117

Helping Your Children Cope with Parental Conflict 118

What to Do When You Can't Agree about the Parenting Plan 119

How to Prepare for a Custody Trial 120

Working with the Law Guardian, or Guardian ad litem 122

Helping Kids Cope after a Divorce 123

Cooperating and Coordinating with the Other Parent 123

Functioning as a Single Parent 124

Embryos 126

9 Dividing Your Assets and Debts 127

How to Think about Property Division 127

Marital versus Separate Assets 129

Your State Laws about Dividing Property 130

Prenuptial Agreements 132

Finding Property 132

Valuing Property 133

Special Considerations 134

How to Divide Household and Personal Goods 134

Real Estate 136

Businesses 138

Social Security and Pensions 139

Investments 140

Pets 141

Debt 141

Non-Concrete Assets 142

Tax Consequences 144

Dividing Your Property Yourselves 145

The Sneaky Spouse 145

Preparing for a Trial about Property 146

10 Child Support 148

How Child Support Is Calculated 148

Duration of Support 152

Other Expenses That Can Be Court-Ordered 153

How Child Support Is Paid 154

The Purpose of Child Support 155

Negotiating Child Support 158

Tax and Bankruptcy Implications 160

Preparing for a Child-Support Hearing 161

Modifying Child Support 162

The High Costs of Not Paying Child Support 162

11 Spousal Support 164

How Alimony Is Calculated 165

Duration of Support 167

How Spousal Support Is Paid 167

Modifying Alimony 168

Life Insurance 169

Health Insurance 169

Tax and Bankruptcy Implications 170

12 Emotional and Practical Implications of Divorce 173

Dealing with Friends 173

Dealing with Family 174

Asking for What You Need 176

Living Alone 177

Managing on One Income 180

Waiting through the Long Divorce Process 183

Self-Esteem 184

Depression 184

Anger 185

Grief 185

Being Responsible for Yourself and Your Children 186

Working after Divorce 186

13 After the Divorce 188

Finalization of the Divorce 188

Your Right to Appeal 189

How to Deal with Your Emotions 189

Helping Your Children Adjust 190

Putting Yourself Back Together Financially 191

Completing Paperwork to Comply with Court Orders 191

Paperwork Changes to Protect Yourself 192

Gathering Documents 193

Name Change, Revisited 194

Taxes 196

Rewriting Important Documents 196

Obtaining a Religious Annulment 197

Enforcing Child Support 197

Enforcing Alimony and Property Division 198

Enforcing Other Orders 199

Making Changes to the Parenting Plan 199

Moving Past Your Divorce 200

Planning for Your Future 201

Appendix A Resources 202

Books and Magazines 202

Web Sites and Organizations 203

State Bar Associations 206

State Collaborative Law Associations 209

State and Local Mediation Associations 210

Appendix B Sample Forms 216

Sample Separation Agreement 217

Sample Summons 231

Sample Affidavit of Service 232

Sample Response or Answer 233

Sample Request for Trial 235

Sample Simplified Divorce Settlement 236

Sample Judgment of Divorce 244

Sample Agreement to Mediate 253

Appendix C Frequently Asked Questions 257

Alimony 257

Annulment 258

Appeals 259

Assets 260

Attorneys 262

Child Support 264

Children 267

Counseling 270

Debts 271

Grounds 271

Household Expenses 272

Jurisdiction 272

Other 273

Procedure 273

Separation 275

Service 276

Index 278

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