The first divorce I ever did was my own. Even as a lawyer, the process was challenging to navigate while experiencing the emotional pain of divorce. FINALLY, I’m able to offer help to other people going through similar experiences. And this is just in time because January is Divorce Month in the USA!
“Why, January?” you ask. Well, it is financially a better time: it is right after holiday spending and before tax refund season. From a relationship perspective, it’s after the family-filled time during the holidays, and parents have a lot of anxiety about protecting their children from the talk of divorce during that time.
In our last blog post, we announced that Taproot Law is going all in on limited scope services, which means I can help with your divorce in other ways.
Through our limited scope services, Taproot can help you with the following aspects of the divorce process:
- Joint Divorce – Michigan now allows “friendly divorce” through petitions instead of a lawsuit. This is called “joint divorce,” and Taproot now can provide you with all the documents and instructions that you need for your joint divorce at a one-time flat fee.
- Mediation – There are good reasons why disputes happen, and even in traditional divorce, you can try to mediate your differences. I have years of experience in divorce and custody mediation, and I’m a skilled collaborator. I use a direct and involved approach to steer the conversation and create opportunities for collaboration. If you have participated in community or attorney led meditations, you can expect that my approach will be more directive.
- Post-Divorce Planning – After your divorce, other legal work usually needs to be done. Retitling and dividing property and estate planning as a single person are important projects that we can help with!
And there is always coaching! My own experience is a perfect example of how coaching could be used in divorce.
A lesson from Erica’s Divorce
Going through a traditional divorce process was certainly challenging, but I learned a valuable lesson: Understand the things you need to have to make a comfortable life after the divorce is finalized.
Positive lesson-We settled all issues except two:
- Was Erica entitled to thousands of dollars in equity in the home?
- Who would claim ownership of our dog, Nyla?
I wanted both Nyla and the cash. And so did he.
My ex-husband’s lawyer, a friendly colleague, came to my office for a settlement discussion. “Erica, you can get another dog,” he tried to persuade me to move off one position or the other to achieve settlement.
Well, the cute little Brittany in Taproot’s pictures is Nyla, so you can probably guess how the story ended: We agreed that I would get the dog, and in exchange, I had to give up my claim to the equity.
While it might seem silly to some to settle for a dog instead of cash, Nyla has been my companion through so many ups and downs. In particular, she was there when I felt lonely. I have never once wanted that money or regretted that decision because she helped me have a more comfortable life.
Hard lesson: In the personal property division, I picked the spin bike first, and he picked our beautiful wedding dishes. My thought process at the time was to pick items with higher resale value. I didn’t consider the pain it is to sell stuff (and I’m not good at it). What I should have focused on was (1) necessity and (2) replacement value. Replacing everyday items can be sneakingly expensive.
From my own experience with divorce, I realize that I could have used a little extra help talking through my goals before entering into a personal property division agreement – even though I could otherwise represent myself. That is exactly why I start with coaching at Taproot!
What’s Taproot Talking About Next
At Taproot, we’re paying close attention to the legal questions and issues that affect most people in our UP community. We are building services to meet those needs and we are talking about it! Here is a sketch of our upcoming schedule: