What it Means to “Win” at Divorce

Are you thinking about a divorce and wondering how you can achieve a lopsided division of assets and alimony, so you don’t have to work? And maybe sole custody of the children, too? If so, you wouldn’t be alone.

You’ll easily find a divorce attorney who will fight your war with you for years. And you’ll only end up where you would have if you’d negotiated to begin with. And guess what—you’ve funded your lawyer’s kids’ college accounts rather than your own. Is this a “win” at divorce?

Perhaps you should instead consider getting through this overwhelmingly difficult transition with dignity while keeping a lot more of your own money and maintaining your and your children’s emotional health throughout. In most instances, you can do that without ever stepping foot into a courthouse or even speaking to an attorney. 

The fact is that ninety percent of divorces don’t belong in the court system. When you involve the court, you give up total control around life-altering decisions regarding your assets, your income, and the custody of your children. Whether within or outside of court, if you involve an attorney for both you and your spouse—the traditional model—it will result in legal expenses that you can’t possibly fathom when you’re 1) just getting started and 2) convinced the “system” will see your side of what’s just. Attorney-driven divorce processes will not provide you with practical guidance and needed emotional support nor correctly value all your assets and considers both the short and long-term impact on each spouse’s financial health.

I set out years ago to find a better way to divorce, creating and refining a process to deliver just that. At TruNorth Divorce, we provide a legally-sound, one-stop solution for divorcing couples who want a financially optimized settlement that helps both spouses achieve their long-term goals. When children are involved, we also provide effective and durable parenting plans. Yes, there is indeed a better way that will be less expensive, faster, less stressful, minimize the negative impact on your children, and launch you towards a new and promising future.

Want to know more? Read How to Win in Divorce.

Should I Choose a Family Lawyer for My Divorce?

family lawyer

When you make the decision to get divorced, you might find yourself wondering how to even begin the process. Do you need to hire a family lawyer? Most of us have seen divorce portrayed in movie scenes with cutthroat attorneys arguing back and forth over the family home and possessions. Affairs are uncovered, crimes are plotted, and things always seem to be very complicated.

But what most folks don’t realize is that this isn’t an accurate representation, it’s Hollywood drama. The divorces of the real world rarely play out like that and would make for terrible entertainment. The truth is, that unless you have personal experience, you probably don’t realize that for amicably parting couples, divorce is largely a financial transaction. Most divorces never make it to the courtroom.

Many divorcing couples choose to work with family divorce mediators over hiring a family lawyer. One of the reasons for this is that it’s often the least cumbersome and most cost-efficient path to an uncontested divorce. Litigation is usually the last choice, but whether you end up in court really depends on how willing both spouses are to negotiate and compromise on sometimes complicated financial and parenting issues.

So, how do you determine whether choosing to hire a family lawyer or hiring a mediator is appropriate for you?


♦ Things are Messy and the Divorce Settlement Process is Involved

If you are involved in a contested divorce filled with pain points and emotional turmoil, hiring a family law lawyer is probably a smart move. Divorce mediation requires collaboration. If you can’t see eye-to-eye and every open dialogue during the negotiation process somehow reaches an impasse, mediation may not be right for your divorce.

♦ There is a Serious Threat of Violence Involved in Your Relationship

Mediation is not recommended if you are exiting an abusive marriage. Breaking away from an abusive relationship presents its own set of challenges. Your soon-to-be-ex-spouse has already demonstrated that they are not concerned about your well-being. The state of Maryland provides some dedicated resources for victims of domestic violence. You can also call 1-800-MD-HELPS for support.


Family Divorce Mediation as an Alternate to Attorney Services

If your divorce is uncontested, mediation may be the right choice for you. Mediators who specialize in divorce should be knowledgeable about state laws and legal procedures and skilled in divorce settlement negotiation. When you separate the emotional aspect from the act of divorce, finances and the division of shared marital assets becomes the focus of negotiation. That’s why some mediators become Certified Divorce Financial Analysts® (CDFA®), refining their skillset to help clients expertly navigate any financial pitfalls when it comes to dividing marital assets. CDFAs® specialize in identifying financially sound and creative divorce settlements that take the interests of both parties involved into account. With a CDFA® you get an optimal settlement that is based on accurate valuations, taxes, and both the short and long term impact on your financial health.

Filing Legal Documents and Retaining a Lawyer

Some divorcing couples work with mediators but also decide to retain a family law attorney to review the final documents and paperwork before officially filing. While this isn’t necessary and many divorcing couples choose to circumvent the process to save money on attorney fees, TruNorth Divorce doesn’t discourage clients from working with a family lawyer as a consultant. 

Processing your divorce does not require that you work with an attorney. At TruNorth Divorce we offer assisted and full-service divorce processing–you will never have to speak with an attorne or step foot in a courthouse!

Additional Support

Going through a divorce can be difficult. But remember, you aren’t alone. As with any stressful life event, it’s good to reach out to your support network. While friends and family offer one such avenue of support, talking to a counsellor or mental health professional and seeking out divorce support groups are healthy paths that can help you through this big life transition. Visit our website to learn more about divorce mediation, explore our resources, or schedule a free consultation.

6 Reasons Why You Need a Divorce Support Team

When going through a divorce, it’s essential to have a divorce support team to help you through what can ultimately be an exhausting process. Since getting a divorce affects multiple aspects of your life, it makes sense to have a variety of team members who can collaborate to help you create the most beneficial outcome for your divorce.

By compartmentalizing the divorce process into different roles, you can build a reliable network of people who will help you meet the obstacles you encounter when separating from your spouse. A divorce team includes your friends and family who can offer emotional support. It can also be constructive to receive psychological support from a professional therapist or counselor, so you don’t feel alone on your journey. Additionally, you will need the guidance of a mediator or an attorney-litigator for the legal side of things, a divorce financial advisor for financial support, and maybe a mortgage broker and real estate agent who specializes in divorce.

Family & Friends

Divorce is a roller coaster of emotions and the sense of being newly single can make you feel isolated; reaching out to friends and family members you can trust helps you feel like people are on your side.

It’s important to be discerning with whom you confide in for advice, though. Friends or relatives who encourage you to “take him for all he’s got” aren’t the ones you want to be listening to right now. The most beneficial approach is to find guidance from people who can help you think through everyday decisions, as well as to clarify what is most important to you in co-parenting. Be careful, however, not to overly rely on your family and friends, they’ve only got so much room for your woes.

Divorce Mediator or Attorney

For almost everyone, divorce is a complex and time-consuming process. Generally speaking, you should start by considering a mediator to help you reach a financial settlement and develop a parenting plan with your spouse. If that’s not possible, a divorce attorney may be necessary to help you navigate complicated paperwork, set terms for child support, negotiate your divorce settlement, and represent you in court. 

Especially if you are dealing with an abusive situation, having legal aid also makes it easier to obtain a restraining order. All in all, having a divorce attorney on your support team will make it easier to resolve disputes and ensure y

Divorce Coaches

A divorce coach will assist you with the inevitable transitions divorce comes within a goal-oriented process that is intended to give structural and emotional support to you and your family.

Separating requires disentangling complex social, financial, and emotional aspects from you and your spouse’s life. A divorce coach can motivate you to envision the life you want to eventually lead and layout pragmatic steps to guide you there. Coaches provide a more holistic service and encompasses helping you process the divorce on a full scale.

Financial Advisors

A financial advisor on your divorce support team will help provide a better understanding of your expenses before and after the divorce. It can obviously be difficult to make sound financial decisions when engulfed in emotional turmoil.

By consulting a CDFAⓒ (Certified Divorce Financial Advisor) to understand all of your financial assets, you can ensure you receive your fair share in the divorce and have a clear picture of your financial future. They also help you plan your long-term financial goals, like getting out of debt or preparing for your retirement. 

Mental Health Professionals

In some cases, even having all four of these members on your divorce support team will not be enough. It’s important to have multiple tools and practices in your wheelhouse that enable you psychologically cope with the divorce, and the most qualified person to help impart these strategies is a mental health professional.

There are various methods of therapy for how to cope with uncoupling, including individual therapy like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or family therapy where a third party guides sessions that collaborate with your spouse and/or your children.

Divorce can be traumatic, and if unmitigated, can affect your life for years to come. By designing a treatment plan that benefits you, a therapist formulates a mental health roadmap that will take you from feeling overwhelmed and erratic to calm and capable of handling the obstacles of your divorce. 

Divorce Support Groups & Meetups

It’s essential to make time for socializing during a divorce and connect with others who are going through the same thing. Meetups have become a popular option for divorce support groups online and provide an easily accessible platform for a wide range of support groups, free of charge.

If you belong to a church organization, you can find community-based groups that meet to work through divorce together. If going to your local church is not a safe option for you, your community library or coffee shop may offer monthly meetings where you can listen to others and share your experience in a judgment-free setting. 

Divorce Websites and Apps

When divorcing with children, some courts may order the use of an app for efficient co-parenting or support payment management. If you intend on raising your kids separately, OurFamilyWizard is an app designed by a divorced couple to make this a smoother journey. An interactive calendar allows you to plan schedules and also includes an expense log for tracking shared costs. 

The SupportPay app allows you to manage, track, and pay for child support or alimony, and doesn’t necessarily require both parents to use it. You can upload receipts and invoices, and see exactly what is being spent, presumably on your child. 

Vesta Divorce can help If you’re at the beginning of your divorce and aren’t sure where to begin building your divorce support team. They provide a tremendous resource for information and professionals.

TruNorth Divorce is on Your Team

Hopefully, this guide will assist you as you build your own divorce support team. As you go forward, it’s best to remember this isn’t all on you; you have people in your corner that you can turn to for practical, legal, or financial advice…or maybe when you just need a hug.  

In the meantime, you can find out more about the divorce process through my free downloadable ebook, or reach out to me on Facebook with your questions. TruNorth Divorce is here for your support.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Divorce?

Divorce is a life changing decision full of emotional and financial disruption. So when it comes to how you want to handle the ins and outs of asset division and custody arrangements, it’s important to weigh your personal circumstances carefully before committing to working with a family divorce mediator or a family lawyer.

While it’s true that most divorces don’t need to go to court and that divorce mediation has become a tried-and-true practice for modern divorce, sometimes hiring a family lawyer is a smart call.

1.   Your Divorce is Contested

Divorce is often a sticky topic. The emotionally charged aspect of divorce can cloud judgment and drag out the process. These are the types of divorces that need court intervention and are usually the most difficult ones.

If your divorce is contested, you, your soon-to-be-ex, or both of you have differences that make it impossible to reach a divorce agreement on your own. Generally, settlement negotiations try to find middle ground and carve out an equal division of shared assets. When a settlement agreement can’t be reached through a collaborative private negotiation, it’s settled in divorce court.

2.  Emotional Hang-ups and Attachments to Possessions

A divorce might seem amicable and uncontested when the paperwork is filed and in the initial talking phases, but emotions can really derail the process. Sometimes, this can involve an irrational attachment to shared possessions.

While both parties may believe that the best possible course of action for the future is divorce, this doesn’t make the act of divorce any easier. Emotions can often steamroll logic. Divorces that drag on become expensive. If you find that your emotions are overtaking reason, it’s probably best to work with a family lawyer. 

3.  Custody Disputes

Divorce is often a sticky topic. The emotionally charged aspect of divorce can cloud judgment and drag out the process. These are the types of divorces that need court intervention and are usually the most difficult ones.

If your divorce is contested, you, your soon-to-be-ex, or both of you have differences that make it impossible to reach a divorce agreement on your own. Generally, settlement negotiations try to find middle ground and carve out an equal division of shared assets. When a settlement agreement can’t be reached through a collaborative private negotiation, it’s settled in divorce court. 

4.   When Mediation is the Right Choice

Family divorce mediation is a great choice for divorcing couples who are able to manage and sort out the emotions surrounding their divorce. If you are filing an uncontested divorce, then mediation can save you stress, time, and money.

Divorce mediators are knowledgeable in family law, and many professionals bring valuable legal and financial expertise to the negotiating table. Be sure to educate yourself on the mediation process and familiarize yourself with the services mediators offer. A divorce mediator can be a lawyer, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) or other appropriately trained individual. Be sure you understand the differences in your alternatives and which would be best suited for your case. The decision of choosing a family lawyer or a divorce mediator is a personal one. Asking the right questions can help you set reasonable expectations and make a decision on whether or not a mediator will meet your professional needs.

Is mediation right for you? Visit our website to schedule a free divorce strategy session online with TruNorth Divorce Solutions.


Get A free Consultation



Should You Hire a Divorce Attorney or Divorce Mediator?

Deciding to get a divorce is a very difficult decision and not one to be made lightly. There are many things you will need to consider, starting with these 7 points. Once you think you want to move ahead, who do you call? Most think to call a lawyer, which most often leads to the traditional path to a divorce. While there are times you will need to have a lawyer  litigate your divorce in court, it should be one of the last options you choose. Do you need a divorce lawyer or divorce mediator?

The reality is that the vast majority of divorces should not be handled within the court system. Today, many choose a constructive divorce process that facilitates a more positive future rather than one that tears them down. At the top of the list of constructive divorce processes is mediation. 

Let’s look more closely at the differences between working with a litigating divorce attorney and a professional divorce mediator.

What is Litigation with a Divorce Lawyer

The court-centered, traditional divorce process is where each party gets a divorce attorney and then battles it out in the courts with petitions, hearings, mandated conferences, and maybe even a full-blown trial. This is a relatively costly, slow, and divisive process. 

Attorneys are trained to be adversarial and most divorce attorneys charge an hourly rate of $350 or higher. They are incentivized to spend more time working through the details of court filings, support, property division, and custody. and divorce settlement agreement. When you have two attorneys discussing the minutiae of your divorce and arguing in court, the couple may be paying well over $700 an hour! It’s no wonder that many litigated divorces cost $40,000 and sometimes significantly more.

What is a Divorce Mediator

Divorce mediation is the first of the constructive divorce processes you’ll want to consider. It’s expert-guided, relatively fast and inexpensive and it allows the couple to control their futures and privacy. Mediation is a process where both parties want to resolve their issues and come to an agreement together about custody and the parenting plan, child support, alimony, and property division. A mediator doesn’t make decisions but they assist through a variety of methods including education, financial analysis, conflict resolution, best practices, etc. 

Divorce mediation is a good choice for those who want a gentler divorce that will allow them to keep more of their money and dignity. The couple doesn’t have to be amicable, they just have to be willing to negotiate in good faith. One thing for sure, their long-term relationship will be much better if they can work through mediation rather than the courts. This is especially valuable for parents who will be interacting throughout their children’s lives but important for anyone’s future well-being and peace. 

A divorce mediator can be a lawyer, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) or other appropriately trained individual. Be sure you understand the differences in your alternatives and which would be best suited for your case. The decision of choosing a divorce attorney or a divorce mediator is a personal one.

If you need some help figuring out which approach would be best for you, get in touch with TruNorth Divorce and ask for a Free Divorce Strategy Session to explore your options. They specialize in providing expert divorce mediation advice to individuals and couples considering divorce. They are certified divorce financial analysts and trained divorce coaches who specialize in helping divorcing individuals and couples get their best possible outcome.


Get A free Consultation