Thursday, February 16, 2017

Divorce Finalized Within Six Months of Initial Office Visit


Sally and John came into our Walnut Creek office on a Saturday morning, seeking more information on uncontested divorce, what we call our friendly divorce. They knew their disintegrating relationship was affecting their two teenage sons; they’d tried both individual and couples counseling, but after 15 years, they had grown apart. While they hated the idea of shuttling their kids between two homes, they knew that it was better for their sons than the environment in which they were now living.

This couple had good jobs and assets

Sally was a nurse practitioner at Kaiser and John was an executive at Chevron. They had a home in Pleasant Hill, retirement accounts and other assets. They had tried do-it-yourself divorce packages, but quickly realized that they had neither the time nor the knowledge to properly prepare and file the legal forms. They heard about California Document Preparers from one of their neighbors, and because theirs was an uncontested divorce—they were in agreement about division of property and a parenting plan–we were a good fit for this family.

They had already identified division of assets and a parenting plan

Sally and John’s case was easier than many because they had already agreed on an equitable division of assets, and they’d worked out a parenting plan that fit their schedules, yet allowed for some flexibility as their family adjusted to the new normal. Both parents were prioritizing the wellbeing of their children, and it influenced all of their decision-making. Sally was keeping the family home in Pleasant Hill, and their sons would live with Sally during the week so they would stay in the same neighborhood and go to the same school. Sally and John believed this would provide the most continuity and least disruption for their sons. John planned to buy or rent a condo in the Pleasant Hill/Walnut Creek area so that he’d be close by to pick the kids up from sports and other activities. The boys would be spending weekends and some holidays, as well as half of their summer vacations with their dad.

Our family law team helps our clients identify financial responsibilities

John was keeping his Chevron retirement and 401K, which was nearly double Sally’s retirement plan. We ran the numbers for them, so John knew his child support would be $1,800/month. Sally was getting a substantial promotion in a few weeks, and they agreed that $1,500 would be enough. They also agreed to split 50/50 all other expenses for their sons, including school and sports activities, clothing, summer camp, music lessons, etc.

Sally became the petitioner and John would be the respondent

  • Within two days, we had Sally’s first documents and the disclosures completed and Sally came in to sign them.
  • We took everything to court and filed the documents the following day.
  • John came in to be served just one week from the day they had first visited our office.
  • Within seven dayswe had everything established with the court.
  • One month later Sally and John came in together to sign their settlement agreement.
  • When Sally and John left our office they each hugged each other—they were happy to be finalizing their divorce, remaining on good terms to share parenting responsibilities.
  • They were legally divorced six months after their initial visit to our office.
Best of all: our one flat fee is inclusive. No surprises. 

Follow-up: A Living Trust for Sally

As a single mother, Sally felt new responsibilities, and she came back into our office to create a Living Trust to protect her assets for her children, and she had encouraged John to do one as well.
Divorce is never easy, but our family law specialists are compassionate and accessible. We’re available by phone and email throughout the process, and most of our clients tell us they’re surprised at how easy it was. If you have questions about getting an uncontested divorcecontact one of our three Bay Area offices todayHelpful. Compassionate. Affordable.

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