Thomas Ferreira here, your divorce attorney and mediator in Carlsbad, California. My divorce was final in 2007. I owned a home and had two young children of the marriage. My current wife of 6 years (also my office manager and financial analyst and general partner in crime) got her divorce at the same time. Together, we created Divorce Life Solutions(tm), dedicated to the proposition that you can get through this process with your financial security intact.
Most divorce and child custody lawyers will spend their free consultation (or one that they will charge your credit card $350 for) convincing you of how much you need them. According to the standard pitch, you are in extremely deep voodoo, and the only way out is to hire them to fight for you. And the more you fight, the more money they make.
Tammy and I founded Divorce Life Solutions(tm) to help people avoid the biggest mistakes divorcing people make. The truth is, your divorce case can and should settle without expensive litigation. That’s not going to happen if you simply dump your shoebox of documents on the lawyer’s desk and say “fix this.” Here’s the secret sauce that will save you huge bucks and lead to financial security, and to a secure relationship with your kids:
- Understand and deal with the immediate emotional trial caused by every divorce.
- Develop a plan of escape.
- Get all your papers together in a neat, tabbed binder.
- Spreadsheet everything you make, spend, own and owe, with realistic numbers based on the past.
- You can do most of the legal paperwork yourself.
- Use unbundled attorney representation so that you only pay for what you need.
- Use an experienced, trained divorce mediator to assist with difficult negotiations.
- Pursue long-term goals and let go of the need for fairness and revenge.
- Don’t use dollar services to fight over penny issues.
- Take charge of your own financial life when the proceedings are done.
- Take the time, energy and money that you would use in the court process and devote it to your relationships with your children.
- Life is too short to be angry and bitter—be joyful in your life; it will drive your ex crazy!
Consider Mabel, who lawyered her way into full custody of the kids and a hefty alimony award and spent $50,000 on her lawyer, half of which the court ordered her ex-husband to pay. Mabel’s ex seldom saw his children, who are now surly, disrespectful teenagers. Mabel’s ex paid his $3,000 per month support order for 2 years and abruptly announced that he would pay no longer. Since he was willing to go to jail or live on a park bench rather than pay the support, he quit his 6-figure, 60 hour per week job and hung out a shingle as a handyman. After that, he had no wages to garnish and has spent through his retirement account. A couple of years later he unexpectedly dropped dead of a heart attack.
Now consider Julie, who decided to take charge of her life and avoid litigation. She urged her ex to try mediation and resolved her case for about $4,000 in mediation fees. She agreed to a step-down spousal support (alimony) order and went back to school to achieve her childhood dream of being a registered nurse. Now, her ex is not her favorite person in the world, but he pays his support on time and is a huge help with the kids. One day, the ex got drunk and drove his car into a ditch, rendering him paralyzed from the waist down. Not to worry; July is now making $120,000 per year working for Tri-City Hospital as an RN, a job she finds greatly fulfilling. In the process she has set an example to her children of how to take responsibility for your own life and make yourself a success by the sweat of your own brow. And, she is immune from the consequences of her ex’s irresponsible behavior.
Which mother would you rather be? I am in the process of writing an e-book for sale that will go into greater detail about the best way to divorce with your financial security intact. Stay tuned, and until then…
Love your family,
Protect your finances, and
Reach for your future!
Thomas D. Ferreira, Esq.