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#1 of 10 Old 06-25-2010, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone!
So the process begins
I see that this will cost quite a bit with Lawyer fees. How is that paid? I just don't have that kind of money!
Did anyone try the Fairwway Divorcce process. It is around the country where the two parties come together without lawyers (lawyers do get involved at certain parts), but in essence you are working with a lawyer or other person and with the Laws in your state to workout financial and custody agreements.
Supposedly this is more equitable and "fair" and reduction in fees paid to attorneys. I think it cost 2000 - 4000.
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#2 of 10 Old 06-25-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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Hmm, well, I was lucky enough to find a lawyer who is both young but also very knowledgeable. She's the junior in her firm which meant her hourly rate was 140$. I also benefitted from a lawyer's referal service discount (20%)which might be available to you through your work's EAP. I made damn sure never to use her as my therapist and kept all exchanges short and to the point.

Obviously, my case is different because my XH never showed up in court or contested anything.

I think my divorce and custody case cost me approx. 2200$ total.
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#3 of 10 Old 06-25-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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OP, do you work? My company offers legal coverage that we can opt in at the same time as we pick our insurance options each fall. I didn't even THINK about it until I read something on this thread. Big ol' DUH moment for me! Usually I turned it down, but last fall, I opted in. I think it's about $15/month out of my paycheck and my whole divorce is costing me $400 filing fee. Best thing ever!!!! Just something to check into!!!!

Legal aid is handy too if you live near a law school.

I think when I was researching last summer, my unconstested divorce would have been about $1500 if I didn't have my legal coverage.
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#4 of 10 Old 06-26-2010, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your post.
No I do not have great benefits like that (we closed our business this spring, I had no income for 3 years, he worked another job and now is considering quitting and doing something else). So in checking around a CFP told me about this new process and I was wondering about it.
I feel like stbx is driving this whole process since last fall (I was getting signs then). I am trying to think more logically and practical and not let fear keep me stagnated. I could possibly see him not wanting to use attorneys but wonder if that is in my best interest as I am totally at a lost. I interviewed a few attorneys and I could see how fees could add up.
We have a child, retired military, assets etc. I think stbx wants to just offer me a monthly amount, he has been very secretive, removing his belongings etc, moved out gave me no address yet, comes back to get more of his stuff, do stuff around the house (guilt driven probably, or preparation for something else). Due to the business and school I had not been able to get involved in the process and then he made the final big D announcement recently. So I don't think it will be contested, but I am concerned that I may not get what is "due"...so want to consider what is the best route to ensure that. (18years married). I know I have to get seriously involved, just concerned about cost. Should that not be a concern and just go for peace of mind and assistance?
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#5 of 10 Old 06-26-2010, 09:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ItsAllGood View Post
Thank you so much for your post.
No I do not have employment. So in checking around a CFP told me about this new process and I was wondering about it.
I feel like stbx is driving this whole process since last fall (I was getting signs then). I was a mess then but are now thinking more logically. I could possibly see him not wanting to use attorneys but wonder if that is in my best interest as I am totally at a lost. I interviewed a few attorneys and I could see how fees could add up.
We have a child, assets etc. I think stbx wants to just offer me a monthly amount, he has been very secretive, removing his belongings etc, moved gave me no address yet, comes back to get more of his stuff. Due to the business and school I have not been able to get involved in the process and then he made the final big D announcement recently. So I don't think it will be contested, but I am concerned that I may not get what is "due"...so want to consider what is the best route to ensure that. (18years married).
Ok...given the extra info that you do actually have assets and a business to divy up, and a long marriage...and he's acting secretive...you need a lawyer of your very own. But...the good news is that since you aren't employed after such a long marriage, you may very well be able to get him to pay your legal fees. When there are serious assets involved, legal aid wouldn't be the route I'd go. I am not a grabby-get-him-for-all-he's-got type. But I do firmly believe that he owes a spouse of almost 2 decades a fair share of the assets and by extension his children. If you're talking about dividing a business and more assets than a bank account and a house, I'd get an experienced lawyer! Some will do sliding fees based on income, but when you're interviewing, ask about having him pay your legal fees.

You need someone that can navigate the system and advocate for you.

My previous advice was based on more of the usual situation where there's not much left over to divide. You know better what's on the table and your comfort level. You need to look at the value of your property, retirement funds, pensions, investments, ownership in a business. That makes things much more complicated than your average supervised law student should probably be working on!!! Good luck!!
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#6 of 10 Old 06-26-2010, 10:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RollerCoasterMama View Post
...you need a lawyer of your very own...

...You need someone that can navigate the system and advocate for you.

My previous advice was based on more of the usual situation where there's not much left over to divide. You know better what's on the table and your comfort level. You need to look at the value of your property, retirement funds, pensions, investments, ownership in a business. That makes things much more complicated than your average supervised law student should probably be working on!!! Good luck!!
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#7 of 10 Old 06-26-2010, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are great! I too am not feeling "grabby" either. I believe in marriage, but realize I don't have control over this and just have to get on with my life after this stressful time.
With our long marriage however I see that we have alot to consider to be fair and just. I think he feels we can just do it ourselves. I just don't want to "roll-over" by just following his idea of how things should be (even if they seem ok, but actually may not be in my best interest, if that makes sense) and I just doing the "hope for the best" route. Having said that, I am so trying to balance this with the financial pit you can get drawn into in the divorce process, but still needing the best advice/representation I need. That Fairway process seems interesting, but I may have to go with a traditional lawyer method. Fairway does apply the Law on each step, I am just concerned that we may "miss" something.
In an uncontested divorce, was it easy to follow the state Law in your area without attorney assistance each step of the way? Did you find attorney assistance helpful, or now looking back could you have done it yourselves, or with "guided assistance" such as in the Fairway process? Just thinking about how I shall proceed. Right now leaning toward seeing a CFP and then also hiring an attorney (not sure I need to do both).
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#8 of 10 Old 06-26-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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In an uncontested divorce, was it easy to follow the state Law in your area without attorney assistance each step of the way? Did you find attorney assistance helpful, or now looking back could you have done it yourselves, or with "guided assistance" such as in the Fairway process? Just thinking about how I shall proceed. Right now leaning toward seeing a CFP and then also hiring an attorney (not sure I need to do both).
Mine is uncontested, but I'm not filing it myself. It just means that we're not doing a lot of negotiating/arguing. We won't need mediators or a judge to decide. But I still hired a lawyer to draft the filings. I could probably have done it myself given my background, but I wanted the input of an attorney that practices locally in this area. Even if I hadn't had the legal service, I still would have filed. A law degree means I know enough to know when it's handy to hire an expert! Esp with child custody involved, (a very young child in our case) it was important to follow the process. But since it was uncontested, it just means that we got away with only me hiring an attorney. He didn't need one.
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#9 of 10 Old 06-26-2010, 12:44 PM
 
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JMO, but Fairway's marketing seems a little disingenuous, maybe even exploitative. Of course nobody wants to burn their assets pursuing a divorce. They slam the "typical" process that involves lawyers, but then advise that each party seek independent legal advice:

"The Negotiators/Mediators at Fairway Divorce Solutions do not give independent legal advice or prepare legal contracts even if they are a lawyer/attorney. We highly recommend our clients receive independent legal advice. Fairway Divorce Solutions brings in matrimonial lawyers/attorneys to conduct the “What is the Law™ Seminar” so that clients are provided with a basic understanding of the law as it pertains to divorce and reminded to get independent legal advice. " Hmmmm.


My thought -- get a good lawyer, and if mediation is an option you and your lawyer can pursue it. In my jurisdiction, we have state-provided mediation services that are FREE when ordered by the court.
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#10 of 10 Old 06-26-2010, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes I think I will need to go the "traditional" route, since I am feeling at a loss. Interestingly the CFP I contacted (he runs the Freeway program) gave me to lawyer referrals!
I guess I am very conscientious about finances now, as I know for the first year or so it will be a financial change for me and I want to be prepared as much as I can, not burn through any savings unnecessarily. I have heard that no matter what "it is gonna cost", so I guess there it is.
I am also PMSing so probably feeling very fearful, vulnerable, emotional etc etc. But somehow looking at my kid, I know that even though we have barely gotten started and a rocky road is ahead, I know I can get through. It bums me that this may mean "starting over"?? I knew my future plans, I guess I will need to get new ones! I keep telling myself....keep my head up, I will be okay, hold onto my dignity. My dd is observing of course.
Thanks you guys.
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