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Idiot's Guides: Surviving Divorce, Fourth Edition

Book Description

Beginning with cautionary advice and enabling the reader to be sure divorce is the right answer, the book moves right to the steps one should take before confronting one's spouse with the decision. The book then moves on to cover the following along with many other topics:

- 21 strategic steps to planning for divorce.

- The things one needs to do when the decision to divorce is made.

- How to divorce in the least expensive and most expeditious way.

- What to look for in and what to ask of one's legal representative.

- How to avoid all-out warfare.

- Breaking the news to one's children.

- Custody and visitation.

- Single parenting.

- Dealing with emotions.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Introduction
  5. Part 1: Making the Decision
    1. 1 Saving Your Marriage: When There’s Hope
      1. A Difficult Decision
      2. Resolving Conflicts and Saving Your Marriage
      3. Point of No Return
      4. When Is It Over?
      5. Be Absolutely Certain
      6. When Divorce Is Urgent
    2. 2 Planning for Divorce
      1. Think Before You Act
        1. Consider Your Legal Options
        2. Consult and Hire an Attorney
        3. Know Your Spouse’s Annual Income
        4. Assess What You Can Earn
        5. Understand Your Family’s Financial Holdings
        6. Assess Your Family’s Debt
        7. Make Photocopies of All Family Financial Records
        8. Take Stock of Your Family’s Valuables
        9. Understand Your Household Costs
        10. Determine Where You Will Live After Separation
        11. Start Saving Money
        12. Build Up Your Own Credit
        13. Stay Involved with Your Children
        14. Withdraw Your Money
        15. Consider Canceling Charge Cards
        16. Decide How to Tell Your Spouse
        17. Decide How to Tell the Children
        18. Safeguard Your Property
        19. Avoid Unnecessary Major Purchases
        20. Tell Your Spouse First
        21. Stay in the Marital Residence If Possible
      2. When It Comes as a Surprise
    3. 3 Love in Ruins
      1. Breaking the News
      2. Receiving the News
      3. Envisioning the Future
      4. Emotions Can Have Legal Implications
    4. 4 Separation
      1. Beginning of the End, or a New Beginning?
      2. Preamble to Divorce
      3. Separating Peacefully
      4. Surviving Forced Togetherness
      5. Making Your Move
      6. Reading the Fine Print
      7. The Family Plan
    5. 5 When There’s No Turning Back
      1. Where to Begin the End
      2. Gathering Your Financial Documents
      3. The Price of Dating Before Divorce
      4. Hiring a Private Investigator
      5. Reviewing Your Prenuptial Agreement
      6. Starting the Divorce Action
      7. Working Out a Settlement Agreement
  6. Part 2: Navigating the Law
    1. 6 The Art of the Deal
      1. “No-Fault” Divorce
      2. Quick and Easy
      3. Not So Quick and Easy
      4. Working Through the Issues
        1. Bargaining and Compromise
        2. Impediments to Settlement
        3. When to Reject an Agreement
      5. Accepting the Package and Moving On
      6. When the Settlement Is Reached
      7. The Cost of a Quick Divorce
      8. Your Lawyer’s Role
      9. The Default Divorce
    2. 7 How to Find and Retain an Attorney
      1. Do You Need a Lawyer?
      2. How to Choose the Best Lawyer for You
      3. Your First Meeting
      4. Fees and Billing
      5. Consider the Opposing Counsel
      6. Good Referral Sources
      7. What Legal Style Is Right for You?
      8. How to Interview a Lawyer
      9. You’re Hired!
    3. 8 The Full-Service Attorney
      1. Is Full-Service Representation Right for You?
      2. What to Expect
      3. What Your Lawyer Should and Should Not Do
        1. Your Lawyer’s “To Do” List
        2. Red Flags
      4. The Client-Attorney Relationship
        1. How and When to Call Your Lawyer
        2. Check Your Behavior
      5. When to Fire Your Lawyer
    4. 9 Handling Your Case Pro Se
      1. Why Go Pro Se?
        1. Is Pro Se Divorce for You?
        2. The Impact on the Court System
        3. Do Your Homework
        4. Legal Information vs. Legal Advice
      2. Getting the Help You Need
      3. Tips for Do-It-Yourselfers
    5. 10 Hiring a Lawyer for Specific Tasks
      1. The Unbundled Divorce
      2. Obtaining Limited Scope Legal Assistance
      3. The Limited Scope Consult
      4. Coaching, Ghostwriting, and Other Assistance
        1. Limited Scope Assistance for Simple Cases
        2. Limited Scope Assistance for More Complex Cases
      5. How to Benefit from Unbundled Divorce
    6. 11 Mediation, Arbitration, and Collaboration
      1. Gentle Tactics
      2. Advantages of Mediation
      3. When Mediation Works Best
      4. When to Avoid Mediation
      5. Choosing a Mediator
      6. Mediation as a Process
        1. If You Think Your Spouse Is Lying
        2. Avoiding Old Patterns in Mediation
      7. All About Arbitration
      8. Collaborative Divorce
        1. What Sets Collaborative Law Apart
        2. Is Collaborative Divorce for You?
    7. 12 Taking Your Case to Court
      1. Here Comes the Judge
      2. How Judges Resolve Issues
      3. How to Impress the Judge
      4. Going Through the Motions
      5. The Discovery Zone
      6. Your Day in Court
      7. Judicial Bias
        1. When You’re the Witness
        2. Traps You Can Avoid
        3. Common Mistakes You Must Not Make
      8. Family Court vs. Civil Court
      9. Military Law
      10. Should You Appeal?
    8. 13 When Divorce Turns Vicious
      1. The Nightmare Begins
        1. Harassment
        2. Order of Protection
        3. Serving the Order
    9. 14 Paying the Bill
      1. Why Is Legal Representation So Costly?
      2. How Matrimonial Lawyers Charge
      3. Before You Put Your Money Down
      4. Who Pays for What?
      5. Tips for Keeping Fees Under Control
      6. Are Your Lawyer’s Charges Legitimate?
      7. Getting the Most for Your Money
    10. 15 Closing the Book on Your Case
      1. When the Judgment Is Final
      2. After the Judgment Has Been Entered
      3. Your Benefits
      4. Changing Your Last Name
      5. Modifying the Divorce Decree
      6. How Remarriage Alters Things
      7. When Your Second Marriage Ends
      8. What If You Lose Your Job?
      9. When Your Ex Does Not Comply
      10. Saying Good-Bye to Your Lawyer
    11. 16 Same-Sex Divorce
      1. Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Union: A Global Trend
        1. Same-Sex Marriage in the United States
        2. A Gauntlet of Laws and Rules
      2. The Same-Sex Divorce Trap
      3. Navigating Divorce as a Same-Sex Couple
    12. 17 Divorce in Europe
      1. Marriage in the European Union
        1. Same-Sex Marriage in Europe
        2. Choosing Your Marital Property Regime
      2. European Divorce Laws in Selected Countries
        1. France
        2. Germany
        3. Italy
        4. The Netherlands
        5. England and Wales
      3. Divorce Across Borders
        1. European Union Regulations to Aid International Couples
        2. Enforcing Support Decisions
  7. Part 3: The Economics of Divorce
    1. 18 Dividing It Up
      1. The Art and Science of Division
      2. Variations in Laws
        1. More on Community Property
        2. Equitable Distribution Jurisdictions
        3. Separate Property Jurisdictions
      3. Taking Inventory
        1. Furniture, Cars, the Small Stuff, and the Cash
        2. Who Gets the House?
        3. When You Keep the House
        4. Dividing the Family Business
      4. Leave No Stone Unturned
      5. Watch Out for Ploys to Avoid Payment
        1. Bankruptcy
        2. Illegal Transfers
      6. Gather Your Financial Information
        1. A Basic List to Get Started
        2. Details About Your Residence
        3. Details About Your Assets
        4. Prepare for Your Financial Affidavit
        5. Settlement Software
    2. 19 Inheritance, Wills, and Other Estate Issues
      1. Inherited Money and Personal Property
      2. When a Spouse Dies Before Divorce Is Final
    3. 20 Spousal Support
      1. Maintenance Basics
      2. What’s Fair? Coming Up with a Number
      3. Getting the Best Deal
      4. A Word of Warning
      5. When Circumstances Change
    4. 21 Child Support
      1. A Closer Look at Child Support Guidelines
      2. Child Support in Sole and Shared Custody Arrangements
      3. Direct vs. Indirect Child Support
      4. What’s Fair?
        1. To Settle or Not to Settle?
        2. Duration of Child Support
        3. What Should the Child Support Figure Be?
        4. Take All Expenses into Account
      5. When a Parent Is in Default
      6. When You Think You’re Paying Too Much
      7. When You’re Not Receiving Enough
      8. Insurance and Healthcare for Your Children
    5. 22 Managing Your Money Solo
      1. Expect Your Financial Situation to Change
      2. Sharing the Responsibilities
      3. Taking Stock of Your Finances
      4. Looking for Work
      5. Developing a Credit History
      6. Handling Your Debts
      7. Living Within Your Means
  8. Part 4: Focus on the Children
    1. 23 Thinking About Custody
      1. Negotiating Custody
      2. Custody Is Not Ownership
      3. Understanding Custody in Your Jurisdiction
      4. Joint or Sole Custody?
      5. When Joint Custody Won’t Work
      6. Determining the Primary Residence
      7. The Noncustodial Parent
      8. A Parent Is Still a Parent
    2. 24 Breaking the News
      1. When to Tell Your Children
      2. How to Tell Your Children
      3. What to Tell Your Children
      4. Helping Children Cope With Divorce
        1. Dealing with Fears
        2. Dealing with Blame
        3. Dealing with Anger
        4. When a Child Is Abandoned
    3. 25 Working Out Time-Sharing Schedules
      1. When Parents Live Apart
      2. It’s All About Attitude
      3. Age-Appropriate Time-Sharing
        1. Infancy to Two-and-a-Half Years
        2. Two-and-a-Half to Five Years
        3. Six to Eight Years
        4. Nine to Twelve Years
        5. Thirteen to Eighteen Years
      4. Scheduled for Success
      5. Finding a Routine that Fits
      6. Keeping the Joy in Holidays
      7. Long-Distance Parenting
      8. Time-Sharing in High-Conflict Situations
        1. Time-Sharing Schedule Recommendations
        2. When Your Child Needs Help
        3. The Role of the Parenting Coordinator
      9. Advice from Those Who Know Best
    4. 26 Two Parents, Two Homes
      1. Strategies to Cope with Change
      2. Making the Exchange Smoothly
        1. Your Ex Is Your Child’s Parent
        2. Shielding Your Children from Conflict
      3. Children Who Fight Visitation
        1. Go with the Flow
        2. The Anxiety of Transition for Young Children
        3. When a Parent Is Maligned
      4. If You Suspect Abuse
    5. 27 Single Parenting
      1. If You Are the Custodial Parent
        1. Make the Most of Mealtimes
        2. Working Single Parents
        3. An Issue of Discipline
        4. Caring for Yourself
      2. If You Are the Noncustodial Parent
        1. Don’t Overdo It
        2. Your Enormous Responsibilities
      3. A Life of Your Own
        1. Building a New Career
        2. Meeting New People
      4. Nurturing Your Kids
    6. 28 Redefining the Family
      1. Helping Your Kids Accept Your New Spouse
      2. The Dynamics of the Stepfamily
      3. Easing the Transition
      4. The Stepparent’s Point of View
      5. Half-Siblings, Stepsiblings, and the New Baby
    7. 29 Facing Your Feelings
      1. Coping with the Emotional Fallout of Divorce
      2. Rediscovering Your Sense of Self
      3. It’s Okay to Feel Angry
      4. Dealing With Feelings of Guilt
      5. The Life You Left Behind
      6. When Doubt Lingers
      7. Maintaining a Friendly Relationship
    8. Glossary
    9. Index
    10. About the Author