What is different about divorce in the 21st century? I am sure you can guess that the biggest change is the existence of the internet and social media, which have changed life experiences for many people. We know that information is readily available at our fingertips (even as we are sitting at a stoplight!) and we know that people tend to share more about their personal lives through various social media outlets. Connecting with others online is easier than meeting face-to-face, allowing people the opportunity to have a broader network of people in their lives offering advice and support.
What are the results of this? A large piece is that the stigma that used to be associated with divorce seems to have evaporated, especially as people are talking more openly about their divorces, the struggles they face with Co-Parenting, and the happiness that many are able to achieve post-divorce. The vast amount of information available to the typical non-lawyer is also a change. Perform a quick Google search for “divorce” and you can find answers about anything from spousal and child support to the mechanics of how to complete the divorce process completely on your own. You can find support groups and communities, people to share your feelings with, articles regarding Co-Parenting post-divorce, and any other subject you want to research that will help you through the process.
So, the big question is, with all this information available to you online, what is the point of using professionals to help you with the divorce process? Websites promise you an “easy, quick and cheap” divorce with no hassle or attorney fees. The Michigan Child Support Calculator and all the policies regarding child support are available on-line and the two of you can work together to figure all the details of your arrangement on your own.
The reality is, however, that divorce is not a simple process. It involves more than just numbers and a spreadsheet, especially if you have children. There are multiple factors that vary for each family, including financial anomalies. Most of all, there are a myriad of unique values and parenting styles that you and your former spouse have implemented, including goals and dreams for how you will raise your children that are not taken into account by any formula. You may be thinking short-term, but professionals can help you think about your lives long-term. Professionals can offer vast experience with the changes that life can bring with the addition of romantic partners/step-parents (yes, it may be hard to believe, but you will probably fall in love again!) and new challenges you will face in parenting and financial needs as your children grow. It is hard to look at your two-year old and imagine that one day you will be discussing the price of cell phones, car insurance, and college, but divorce professionals can help you plan for these needs in advance. Therapists, attorneys, mediators and Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA’s) can all support you through this process in a positive manner.
Co-Parenting Solutions, LLC can provide many of the services you need and provide referrals to other excellent professionals as needed. If you are able to work together effectively with your former partner, you will still save time and money by bringing your ideas and best collaboration skills to the table. I often suggest people start with trying to mediate a divorce amicably, because that saves money. If that does not work, make sure to hire a reputable family law attorney. Even if going through mediation, it is helpful to have an attorney help you through the filing process with the court and it will be a minimal fee. No matter what route you choose, I encourage everyone to use professionals with knowledge in the field, but use them sparingly so you can put your money into the most important people in your lives — your children.