Thursday, January 3, 2019

Divorce ~ After the Holidays

Divorce isn't easy. It never is. Two people come together believing they'll spend their lives together, but then for a thousand reasons the marriage may not work. Some reasons people split are basic other reasons are complex. However, the fact remains that people marry and people break up. Every relationship runs its course … some are brief, some last for a life time.

If you are at the beginning stages of divorce or a paternity action. Or if you are contemplating a break up, you likely have many questions about the process. You also may have questions about your rights and responsibilities. The cost of an attorney may be prohibitive. Or you may want to educate yourself before hiring an attorney.

We have developed a course that may help answer some of these questions. “We” is the FloridaAssociation of Legal Document Preparers, a statewide trade association of nonlawyer forms preparers. As the name of our association clearly implies, we are NOT attorneys. Our course is the Divorce and Paternity Readiness Course. There are two parts. The first part addresses the emotional aspects of a divorce or break up. How are you going to feel after you're no longer half of a couple? How are you going to plan your life minus your spouse or significant other?

The second part of the course breaks down the basics. You have a million questions. Document preparers are asked these questions all the time. Some we can answer, others we can't. Document preparers are specifically prohibited from giving legal advice, so we can't answer any legal questions. Some questions we hear frequently are:

  • How does the judge decide child support?
  • How does the judge decide child timesharing and custody?
  • Should I ask for alimony?
  • What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), and do I need one?
  • What is shared parental responsibility?
  • Do I get the house?
  • Do I get to keep my car?
  • Will he or she have to pay off credit card debt?
  • Do I need a Marital Settlement Agreement?
  • What's the difference between equal distribution of assets and debts; and equitable distribution of assets and debts?
  • What if he or she was hiding assets during the marriage?
  • What if he or she is engaged in illegal activities or substance abuse?
  • What if there is domestic violence within the marriage?

And for the unwed fathers contemplating a break up, there are more questions:
  • Why won't my child's mother let me see my child?
  • I'm on the birth certificate, doesn't that make me the legal father?
  • Why do I have to pay child support, when I can't even see my child?

Many of these questions are legal questions that a document preparer may not answer. But, our course can and does. Part II of our Divorce and Paternity Readiness Course provides the facts and information, you apply these to your circumstances. After completing our course, you'll:

Be able to make informed decisions about your divorce and break up;
Understand your rights and responsibilities;
Decide whether to prepare your own divorce or paternity documents, hire a legal document preparer, or retain counsel.

The cost for our course is only $59 for Part I; and $59 for Part II. For a limited time, Part II is free to all who complete Part I. So, if you're contemplating divorce or paternity action, or are at the beginning stages of either process, do yourself a favor and learn all you can. Your knowledge and active participation in the process will help make the transition from being a couple to being a single person much smoother.

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