Workshop presents divorce options

The nonprofit Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group will host Divorce Options (a public education workshop) at the Tandem Properties Board Room, 3500 Anderson Road from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 5.

The workshop is open to anyone (individuals or couples) considering divorce as well as therapists who are interested in learning more about the divorce process. The Divorce Options workshops are designed to help people take a more informed first step in untying the marital knot. Divorce Options will present information on the legal, financial, family, and personal issues of divorce in a logical, yet compassionate way. The workshop is conducted by a team of trained legal, mental health, and financial professionals to help participants gain a greater understanding of the often confusing and overwhelming divorce process.

The goal of Divorce Options is to provide community members with excellent resources and information to help decide which divorce process option is best for them and their families. The presenters will present basic, unbiased knowledge needed to select the best divorce option, discover community resources, and learn about the many facets of the divorce process.

The fee for the workshop is $40 online at (search Divorce Options Workshop), $45 cash or check at door, free to mental health clinicians with business card. For information, go to or contact Diana Hirning-Johnson, LMFT at 530-304-0146 or email [email protected]

How to Save Your Relationship, With Divorce Lawyer James J. Sexton

James J. Sexton is a divorce lawyer who has spent his career working with couples whose marriages are dissolving. He’s learned a lot throughout the years about what sours a good marriage (or ends a relationship that’s already in trouble), and now he’s using that knowledge to help the rest of us. His new book is If You’re In My Office It’s Already Too Late: A Divorce Lawyer’s Guide to Staying Together.

Listen to The Upgrade above or find us in all the usual places where podcasts are served, including Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, and NPR One. Please subscribe, rate, and review!

Discussed in This Episode:

  • Why do people get married when the divorce statistics are so grim
  • How we put more thought into our wedding than into our marriage
  • Why you should figure out how you’re going to communicate
  • The little things are how we fall in love—and they’re how we can fall out of love
  • How switching to an open relationship mid-stream can cause problems
  • How Facebook is a breeding ground for infidelity
  • Why divorce lawyers call couples counseling “delaying the inevitable”
  • How married partners with kids should emulate divorced couples

Find the best Divorce lawyer near you

If you are facing or contemplating a divorce, you should seek the legal advice of a divorce lawyer. A good divorce lawyer can help educate you on the divorce laws in your state and help minimize the lengthy court process and emotional distress often associated with divorce proceedings. Knowing when to contact or hire a divorce lawyer can make the difference between an amicable split between you and your partner and a potentially uphill battle.

Below is important information you need to know about hiring a divorce lawyer.

Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is a complicated process. Not only does it impact you — both emotionally and financially — it may also impact your children, family, and friends. If you’re thinking about filing for a divorce, or if your spouse has initiated divorce proceedings, you need an experienced divorce lawyer to help you navigate this difficult time while protecting your assets and legal rights. An experienced divorce attorney will evaluate your specific case and advise you at every stage of the divorce process, all with the goal of ensuring that the outcome of your divorce is as favorable as possible to you and your family.

Hiring a good divorce attorney with experience, objectivity, and specialized knowledge to represent you during the divorce proceedings is a good idea. While some divorces may be handled alone, other more complicated divorces warrant the legal advice of a qualified divorce attorney or someone who knows the intricacies of the divorce process. You may have questions concerning your eligibility for divorce, where to file, divorce fees/costs, and setting up a parenting plan if you have kids, for instance.

Moreover, because divorce often includes matters involving kids and finances, you may need a divorce lawyer with specialized experience in child custody, child support, and visitation issues as well.

What to Look For in a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce lawyers handle a variety of divorce issues, including settlement agreements, child custody/child visitation, division of property and finances, and spousal support. When looking for a divorce lawyer, you should concentrate on the lawyer’s expertise, skill level, commitment, and location or area served.

Because divorce proceedings require divulging many aspects of your personal life and financial assets, you should feel comfortable speaking freely in your lawyer’s presence, and feel confident in the lawyer’s ability to handle your case. Your divorce lawyer should also have experience handling child support cases (if kids are involved) and/or division of propertyissues (if applicable).

It is also important to know the attorney’s style and divorce philosophy, such as whether combative or cooperative, and whether the attorney offers divorce alternatives, such as mediation or other out-of-court proceedings. Not all divorces have to end in an evil battle, and an attorney’s philosophy may make the difference in the long-term outcome of your relationship with your ex-spouse.

Lastly, because state laws vary, it’s important that the attorney have experience handling divorces in the state where the marriage first took place.

How to Find a Divorce Lawyer

There are numerous ways to find a qualified divorce lawyer. Referrals from friends and family or online research may be a good start. However, not all websites are the same and unless you live in the same state as your friend or relative, or have unlimited hours to spend online, you may wish to find a local divorce lawyer using one of several quality-assured lawyer directories, such as FindLaw, devoted to connecting you to an experienced lawyer in your area.

Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer

Before selecting a divorce lawyer, you should feel comfortable enough to speak with him or her concerning all aspects of your family’s situation. Below are some of the questions you should ask before hiring a divorce attorney.

What is involved in the divorce process and how long does it typically last?

What percentage of your practice is devoted to divorce cases? How many divorce cases have you tried?

What is your experience handling child custody/visitation cases and/or working with high net worth individuals (if applicable)?

How much of my divorce case will you actually handle?

What is your philosophy on divorce? Do you offer mediation or other alternative out-of-court dispute resolution?

Can you give me an estimate of how much my divorce will cost?

Divorce Attorney Fees

The cost of a divorce will vary, and depends on a number of factors. First, not all divorce attorneys are the same, and a good divorce attorney will probably cost more than an average divorce lawyer. Second, not all divorce cases are the same some cases may be resolved with minimum paperwork and in a short period of time, while others will involve repeated court appearances, increased paperwork, and multiple negotiations. Third, divorce attorney fees will likely vary according to geography, so a California divorce attorney may cost more than a divorce attorney in Tennessee. In all cases, it is wise to consult with a variety of divorce attorneys in your area to find one you feel comfortable with in representing you and get a sense of the cost involved in representing your case.

Get Legal Help with Your Divorce

Divorce is never an easy decision to make, but sometimes it’s necessary. There’s a lot to do in order to get a divorce, and various procedural rules to follow. For this reason, it’s a good idea to hire an experienced divorce attorney who will be familiar with the divorce process and can advocate on your behalf, both in and out of the courtroom.

Legal Requirements for Divorce

Under most state laws, a divorce (or “dissolution”) action must be filed and decided in court. All states have a “no-fault divorce” policy. In other words, the courts are not concerned with which spouse was guilty of marital misconduct.

The following legal requirements are necessary to file for divorce in most states:

  1. Residency: The spouse filing for divorce must have resided in the state and county for a certain period. Six months is a common state requirement, and three months is typical at the county level.
  2. Waiting Period: Most states have a mandatory waiting period from the filing to the finalization of a divorce. In other words, you cannot file and finalize a divorce on the same day. The average waiting period is 6 months but can be anywhere from 0 to 12 months. After the waiting period, the divorce is finalized and both parties are free to remarry.
  3. Legal Grounds: States generally recognize two legal grounds for divorce: (1) irreconcilable differences and (2) separation. “Irreconcilable differences” simply means there are marital difficulties that cannot be reconciled and have led to the permanent breakdown of the marriage.
  4. Jurisdictional Requirement: An action for divorce must be filed with the proper court. The appropriate court is typically in the county where either the wife or husband has resided for at least 3-6 months prior to filing for divorce.

A divorce starts with a divorce petition. The petition is written by one spouse (the petitioner) and served on the other spouse. The petition is then filed in a state court in the county where one of the spouses resides. It does not matter where the marriage occurred. The petition includes important information regarding the marriage. It names the husband, wife and any children and states if there is any separate property or community property, child custody, and child or spousal support.

Serving the Divorce Petition

The petition (or the divorce papers) must be served on the other spouse. This phase of the process is called “service of process.” If both spouses agree to the divorce, the other spouse only needs to sign an acknowledgement of the receipt of service. However, if the other spouse refuses to sign or is difficult to locate, you can hire a professional process server to personally deliver the papers.

Completing service of process starts the clock running on your state’s waiting period. It also sets automatic restraining orders on the spouses and helps establish the date of separation. At this point, the spouses are not permitted to take any children out of state, sell any property, borrow against property, or borrow or sell insurance held for the other spouse.

Divorce Petition Response

The other spouse is known as the “respondent.” Although it’s not required, the respondent can file a response to the petition saying he or she agrees. Filing a response shows both parties agree to the divorce. This makes it more likely the case will proceed without a court hearing, which could delay the process and cost more. Generally, if a response is not filed within 30 days, the petitioner can request that a default be entered by the court. The responding spouse can also use the response to disagree with information presented in the petition.

Final Steps of a Divorce

Both spouses are required to disclose information regarding their assets, liabilities, income and expenses. If the divorce is uncontested and the spouses can agree on the terms of the divorce, there is only a bit more paperwork to file. Once the court enters the judgment, the divorce is final. However, the marriage is not formally dissolved and the spouses cannot remarry until the end of the state’s waiting period. If there are disputes that cannot be resolved, court hearings and maybe even a trial will be required.

Legal Separation or Divorce: Which is Better Financially?

In a legal separation, the parties are still married, versus a divorce where the marriage is ended. A legal separation is a court order that mandates the rights and duties of a couple while they are still married, but living apart. In a divorce, the spouses are no longer married. Legal separations are not too common, but can be helpful to a situation where the spouses work through any personal or financial issues affecting the marriage. In proceedings for legal separation, the court decides the following, much as it would in divorce proceedings:

  • Separation maintenance: this includes alimony and child support, but is called something different to distinguish it from the effects of a divorce. The court papers for separation maintenance are usually filed by a lawyer through what is referred to as a “motion pending litigation”. The court’s decision on awards for separation maintenance does influence what each spouse is awarded should they later continue to divorce proceedings.
  • Child custody
  • Child visitation
  • Property division

Property division during legal separations and divorces are typically determined by the couple’s situation and how it relates to the property. The following situations are common forms of separation affecting property division:

Trial Separation

A trial separation refers to a period of time during which spouses live apart to decide whether or not to continue the marriage. This trial separation has no real legal effect, unlike a legal separation where the parties are ordered by a court to fulfill certain property divisions and duties. Instead, a trial separation is viewed as a period of time in the couple’s marriage. Any property or debt acquired during a trial separation is still considered to be acquired during the marriage, and hence, probably marital property. This is true even if the couple ultimately never gets back together. Not until either spouse decides to end the marriage does this property classification have the potential to change (depending on the state the couple lives in).

Living Separately

Sometimes, circumstances arise that lead to couples living apart with no intent, one way or the other, to continue the marriage. Additionally, some states have laws that require couples seeking to file a no-fault divorce to live apart for a designated period of time. Living separately can affect the property division. Property and debt acquired while living separately is classified differently depending on what state the couple lives in. Some states determine the property classification based on whether either spouse has the intent to end the marriage.

For example, in community property states, all property and debt acquired before this intent to end the marriage is still considered community marital property. When one of the spouses gains the intent to end the marriage, then all property and debt acquired thereafter is separate property. Other states consider property and debt acquired while merely living apart to be separate property, regardless of the spouses’ intent. Still other states consider all property and debt to be marital property until the divorce complaint is filed with the court. Be sure to check your own state’s laws to see how they address property.

Permanent Separation

Once a couple decides to separate for good, they have a permanent separation. This permanent separation probably has no legal effect as compared to a legal separation in which one of the spouses has actually filed separation paperwork in court. Most states view all property and debts acquired after a permanent separation as the separate property of that acquiring spouse. Debts that are acquired by either spouse after a permanent separation, but before a final divorce, and are used for things necessary for the family, are treated as joint debts of both spouses. These debts can include things like house payments, maintenance of the family home, and expenses relating to the care of the children.

Get Legal Help with Your Legal Separation or Divorce

Because each state has its own laws regarding property and debt division, it’s important to check your own state’s laws. These determinations can become quite convoluted due to the changing of the couple’s circumstances, so it is a good idea for each spouse to consult with his or her own attorney for help. A local family law attorney can help you sort through the consequences of a legal separation vs. a divorce.

Some tips for getting through the divorce.

The following tips will help you speed up the divorce process and ease your suffering.

1. Acknowledge that, regardless of whether you wanted to divorce or not, you are going through a whole series of changes and losses, that they cause you different negative emotions and affect your whole life and that you need time to adapt, so you must be patient with yourself. Feelings don’t go away overnight, even though our situation may seem to get better.

2. Find out what divorce entails and how it affects different areas of life. Analyze them and if you need help in some, look for it, there’s nothing wrong with that. Remember that a divorce is causing a lot of changes and that you need to adapt and perhaps modify your life, in front of many of them.

3. It is very important that you understand that what happens to you is normal and that, although very painful, it is a process that has a beginning and an end. You probably see the end as something far away or as a sad and negative one, but if you do the right thing, it doesn’t have to be like that.

4. The end is not the signature before the judge, it is the moment when you achieve your physical and emotional recovery, because as long as you continue to carry negative emotions towards your ex-partner and constantly thinking about her, you are still attached to her.

5. Give yourself permission to feel any emotion that comes up.

Don’t deny it, don’t criticize her, but express it properly. That is, in the right place, at the right time, with the right person and in the right way. You can do it in writing in a personal diary.

In fact, only by recognizing, accepting, expressing and working with them can you achieve a good recovery that frees you from the past and allows you to live and enjoy the future.

Remember that emotions, however intense they may be, are only one part of you. They can’t control you unless you let them.

Do not compare yourself with others. Remember that each situation is different and each person is different. Therefore, the same situation does not affect all of us in the same way. You can share what you feel, but don’t let people’s comments affect you. You have your own rhythm.

Give yourself the time you need to recover. To recover well from a divorce we need approximately 18 months to 3 or 4 years.

Don’t force yourself, but don’t let pain or compassion keep you trapped in the same place. Progress can be slow, with progress and setbacks, but the important thing is that overall. you are constantly improving. No matter the size of the steps you take, especially at first, as long as you keep moving toward the right goal: your recovery.

8. – Avoid, as much as possible, places, situations or people that provoke painful memories. If you can’t help it, when you find yourself in that situation, think,”The past is over. Today is a new day and the beginning of a new life that I am building. What matters is the happiness and well-being I want and can achieve.

9. – Look for new activities and relationships that are part of your new identity: A man or woman who has the capacity to build a new life, where he can be happy. You may not feel up to experimenting or going out, but it’s important to force yourself.

10. – At first, during the first few months, do not make drastic decisions, such as changing your home or work, unless it is essential. If you need to make changes, make them little by little and based on your priorities. If you’re not sure what you want or need, wait or ask someone to consider objective and honest, to help you analyze your priorities.

Five tips for couples about to divorce

When frustrated couples who have been married for a long time come to the marriage counselor and family psychologist Aaron Anderson, they want advice and want it quickly.

“Normally, they’ve been having problems for several years and have tried to deal with them on their own,”explains Anderson, director of the Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, USA, to the US edition of the HuffPost. “They’ve been having a hard time because of an unhappy marriage and they’ve had enough, so they come to me.

Even though marriage counselors like Anderson may not have all the answers, his words often help clarify things. Below you can find their best advice for couples with problems who want to fix their marriage.

1. We have to ask ourselves if it is worth saving even 10% of the marriage.

“If couples focus on the positive side of the situation, however small, they already have a foundation on which to rebuild their relationship. Most marriages have mixed feelings about divorce, but they have fallen into toxic behavior that focuses on each other’s weaknesses. If they are able to think about where their marriage and partner are good, they will have the key to starting to rebuild their relationship. Samantha Rodman, psychologist from Takoma Park, Maryland (United States).

2. Keep in mind that this may be a bad streak.

“The attitude in the face of a marriage crisis can change from wanting to give up on wanting to fix it for a period of one or two years. I tell my clients that we have to let the consequences of the crisis settle down a little bit to find out what they really want. Becky Whetstone, marriage counselor and family psychologist from Little Rock, Arkansas (United States).

3. You have to touch your partner again, even if it’s uncomfortable.

“When your relationship is about to break up, the last thing you feel like doing is giving each other hugs and saying nice things. But it has to be done. Yes, when a relationship has problems, being affectionate is not natural, it seems forced and automatic. A relationship thrives on affection and love, so you have to get to the point where it begins to look more natural. Send your partner a romantic message or send flowers to work. He’ll know it’s a little forced, but he’ll usually appreciate the gesture. Aaron Anderson.

4. It is important to know that conflict offers opportunities for growth.

“Trouble doesn’t mean the marriage has to end. Conflicts mean that new opportunities for growth are opening up. Almost all relationships go from romantic happiness to a power struggle. During this transitional period, we often have a defensive and protective attitude. From that perspective, we begin to justify why it’s all our partner’s fault. This helps our partner react negatively, usually moving away or attacking. This situation can grow like a snowball and end up causing both members of the couple to believe that it is impossible to recover the love they once had. But it can be recovered if appropriate communication techniques are used. Jeannie Ingram, marriage counselor from Nashville, Tennessee, United States.

5. You have to get used to saying “I” instead of “we”.

“Everyone knows that marriage is a two-way thing. And when there’s trouble, you’re contributing too. Instead of saying things like’ we discuss a lot’ or’ sex is not like it used to be between us’, think about what you have done to contribute to these problems. For example, you can say things like’ we discuss a lot and I contribute by letting insignificant things bother me’. O’ sex is no longer like before, but I have to show a more open attitude when my partner is on his side. Fixing everyone’s problems can improve the relationship. Aaron Anderson.