Divorce Express

Why Should I Consider Using Divorce Express?

Cost is an obvious reason. However, it is not the only reason.

The Right Thing

If you want your divorce to be one from which you can walk away being satisfied that you did “the right thing”, it might be for you. “Right” not in the sense that “I got the most I could” but, instead, that whatever the result, the process was reasonable and rational. If that matters to you, Divorce Express can help guide you in that direction. Divorce is not about the past. It is about the future. If you can resolve the past sensibly, you will have a better chance of making good choices in the future.

Personal Balance

If your personal balance and serenity is important to you, and you want to minimize the effects of you’re the conflicts between you and your spouse, Divorce Express is worth a very careful look. It tries to put the ragged edge of your anger and pain in a sheath, so the understandable temptation to wield it as a weapon doesn’t create more problems that it will solve!

It Has a Beginning and End-A Seamless and Complete Process

But back to cost. Divorce Express guides you through an integrated process. It has a beginning and an ending.  If negotiation fails, you go to the next step. If mediation fails, you go to the next step. If arbitrated—it ends.  You never have to “reinvent the wheel” and incur all of the cost of starting over—which happens if you use any other single system. 

Prompt

And it avoids the delays (and the additional billing hours caused by those delays) which you will encounter in the traditional legal system.

Is Divorce Express for Everyone?

No, it is not. Divorce Express is for you only if you and your spouse or partner can agree on some new ground rules. If you can, fine. If you can’t, that is fine, too, but Divorce Express won’t work for you.

What Are These “New Rules”?

Rule 1 

There must be full, honest and prompt disclosure of all relevant financial information.

Rule 2

The cost of getting a divorce is an expense which needs to be shared equitably, and the decision about what is equitable needs to be made at the beginning, not the end, of the process. If you want to use your economic advantage for “clout”, Divorce Express is not for you.

Rule 3

All issues regarding children must be addressed promptly, and they must be addressed separately from the other financial issues.

Rule 4

The process must be completed without unnecessary delay. If you are not sure you want a divorce, Divorce Express may not be for you. 

These rules guarantee the integrity of the process, and Divorce Express endeavors to give meaning to that integrity with the experience and attitudes of the Network of Consultants we recommend [But do not require—you can pick your own].

How is Divorce Express quicker?

Six to Twelve Months Is Prompt.

A contested divorce in the legal system will take anywhere from one to three years to come to its conclusion. Because Divorce Express requires full and mutually satisfactory financial disclosures at the very beginning, because it manages only as many cases as it can process, and because it relies on binding arbitration, your divorce can by contested and still be finished in 6-12 months. The process moves at the pace required by the clients. In traditional lawyering the every case is governed by the courts' Differentiated Case Management System

Why is Divorce Express More Private?

We try to design a process which avoids public courtrooms, public hearings and filings on the public record (until the process has been completed).  Does that matter? Divorce Express tries to take the ragged edges off of the process. Those ragged edges, like going through a scanner in a crowded public building seven times during your divorce, affect your attitude. Your attitude is crucial. We think it matters.

Why Does Divorce Express Save You Expense?

Here are Some  Reasons:

By using a Divorce Express coordinator to guide you through the process of financial disclosure, including the valuation of assets requiring appraisals by “experts”, we allow you to minimize the cost of “discovery”, which is a significantly expensive part of every contested divorce which goes through the legal system.

You can, and should, consult with an attorney throughout the process. But you can do so as needd.  That (a) leaves you more in control of things and (b) is much less expensive than paying the typical retainer.

By getting an expert opinion from an Analyst, you can make better cost/benefit analysis of your situation.

Is this a “Do-It Yourself” Divorce?

That is a choice for you to make. Some will do so. Others will not. Divorce Express assumes there will be conflict and contested issues to be resolved.

What if we strongly disagree About Finances—or about Other Things?

In the Divorce Express system, disagreements are normal and to be expected. Divorce Express does not assume any divorce will be “amicable”. Nice if it is, but Divorce Express was created to help you resolve your understandable disagreements---but to do so at less expense, more quickly, and more privately.

How does Divorce Express benefit our Children?

We try to make as comfortabe as possible with the process itself. It is explained, it is reasonably predictable and we try to eliminate some steps which you would encounter in the legal system which are , at best, frustrating and time consuming. And by addressing these issues in a constructive way before you even begin, both you and your children will benefit. Children are well aware of your stress, and of your conflict. If it can be worked out within a “sensible” framework, the emotional overlay is reduced. That counts!

Is the Result as “Fair” as it would be if we went to Court?

Absolutely. The process is designed to help you make informed choices.  If, in the end, disagreements remain, the Arbitrator you select to end your dispute will be someone with as much experience in resolving divorce cases, if not more,  than the Judges you would encounter if you were to litigate your case in the legal system.

Do We Need Our Own Lawyers?

There is no categorical answer to this question. Generally, you are well advised to at least consult with a knowledgeable lawyer before you start your divorce and before you finalize your decision. A lawyer is both a comfort, a source of protection and, if the matter must ultimately progress into the formal legal system, you may find it to be a necessity. We recommend that you consult with a lawyer at any stage of the process. If you do not have a lawyer, our Director may recommend that you do so. That being said—it remains your decision, and your decision will be respected.

What if We don't Want a Lawyer?

You are not required to have a lawyer. . Can you “do it yourself”?  You can do it with less lawyer involvement. Although it is not recommended, you can “do it yourself” in the Divorce Express system just as you can in the legal system. The major advantages of self-representation in the Divorce Express system are “full and expedited financial disclosures” are mandatory, and our Coordinator will assist both parties in that process and (b) the meeting with the Analyst at a very early stage of the process will give you a well-educated assessment of the possible outcomes in your case.  You will have a better base of understanding from which you can make your own decisions if you wish to do so.

How Is Divorce Express Different than Just Mediating?

Divorce Express guides you through the entire process. It is an “integrated” system, because in incorporates negotiating, mediating and arbitrating into an integrated and interconnected process. It begins, and it will end, without the need to “reinvent the wheel”.process.  A Mediator mediates. If it works, terrific for all. If it doesn’t, you start over. With Divorce Express, you mediate only if necessary. If it works, terrific. If it doesn’t, you go to the next step. You do not start over. That is why Divorce Express is more efficient.

How Is Divorce Express Different than Collaborative Law?

In Some Important Ways:

In the Collaborative Law process, your lawyer must agree that if the case reaches impasse, or a party determines that court action is necessary, each party must retain new counsel. This is a fundamental provision of the Participation Agreement you must sign at the beginning of the process.

The consequences of not reaching an agreement in the Collaborative Law process include added costs and significant delay.  In Divorce Express, you are not compelled to agree in order to complete the process. The purpose of the agreement calling for the resignation of both attorneys is to remove the threat of litigation and to keep everyone focused on reaching a voluntary agreement. While some find the method helpful, the jury is still out on whether it actually makes sense for parties to start over with new lawyers if an agreement can't be reached. Not only is that process intimidating to some, but many people also find that working with good lawyers without the collaborative agreement accomplishes the same result. [Is Not Always a Closed System-- Systems are in place to assist when a CFL negotiation breaks down. For example, in the San Francisco area, the Participation Agreement includes a provision for a limited purpose private judge. [10] It allows a private judge to assist in resolving limited impasse issues. In other cities, impasse mediation is used. Alternatively, the members of a practice group designate a rotating “mentoring panel” to assist in resolving impasse through consultation]

Experience has shown that the Collaborative Process is comparable in cost to traditional methods of litigation. In some instances, the Collaborative Process may be less expensive because it allows the parties to work directly with specialists to help them gather and review information, rather than employing competing experts to prove their respective positions.

How Is Divorce Express Similar to  Collaborative Law?

In Some Important Ways:

Divorce Express shares many of the ethics upon which Collaborative Law is based. A typical “Participation Agreement" (The term used to describe the written agreement made at the outset of the Collaborative Law process) includes rules of engagement whereby the lawyers will: Cooperate in providing disclosure and discovery.

Resolving legitimate differences with a preference for doing so openly, honestly, and in a way which will preserve our self respectmutual respect.

Filing documents with the Court with prior notice and explanation.

To make full and fair disclosure to each other of all pertinent facts.

To communicate respectfully and constructively with each other, discussing settlement only in conference - not at unannounced times.

What Are Some Key Advantages to Divorce Express?

Here are Some:

You will have greater control over your costs.

You will have greater control over your schedule—no “mandatory” appearances.

You can go through the process with less fear. Removing the threat of “going to court” reduces that anxiety and fear.  This cannot be overstated. Ask anyone who has gone the traditional route. That “fear and anxiety” forces settlements. It is an essential component of an overcrowded legal system. Do you need it in your life—or in the life of your children? We hope to help you focus on finding positive solutions.

You lay groundwork for a better future. There is no pain-free way to end a marriage, but by reducing stress, working in a climate of cooperation, and treating each other with respect, you and your spouse are creating an environment in which you and your children can thrive.

When you reach an agreement, it can be finalized within a short time frame. You will not get bogged down for months while you wait for a court date.

At the end, is it legally binding?

Simple answer. Yes! At the end of the process, any agreement will be incorporated into a Judgment of Divorce, and it will be fully enforceable within the legal system. It stands on the same footing as every Settlement Agreement. 

What if deception is discovered later?

Divorce Express recommends that every settlement agreement contain the following provision: (If you think this is "unjust”, Divorce Express is not for you!

What if I have Already Met With an Attorney?

If you have already met with an attorney, ask that attorney to look at our Website and give you an opinion on whether Divorce Express would be a better “Road to Rome” than would be the traditional legal system.  Keep that lawyer as your own valuable resource even if you decide the Divorce  Express road is the route of choice.

What if I have Already Filed Something with the Court?

Even if you have already filed a Complaint for Divorce or other lawsuit, that action may be suspended to allow you to utilize Divorce Express to resolve your dispute.

How do I Contact Divorce Express?

Divorce Express has offices in Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties.

                    Baltimore County                      Anne Arundel County

Suite 202                                   West Street

606 Baltimore Avenue               Annapolis, Maryland

410-828-6818                            410-820-2023

wlawkerr@verizon.net              dex@the donahuelawfirm.com

How Do I Enroll in one of your Workshops?

That can best be done on our Website, although you can contact one of our Coordinators for scheduling and enrollment information also.

Can I Get On Your E-mail List?

That also is  best be done on our Website, although you can contact one of our Coordinators for information also. We regularly email newsletters, useful information and a schedule of our Workshops.

Is There Someone I Can Talk To On the Phone?

Yes—someone will return your call, if you leave your name and number(s). There is no charge, but we strongly recommend a consultation with one of our coordinators to discuss Divorce Express and its utility in your situation.

How Much Does a Consultation Cost?

The one hour consultation costs $100.00, which must be paid in advance. If, after discussion, you decide that Divorce Express is for you, the $100.00 is credited to your total cost.

Can I See A Copy Of The Agreement We Would Have To Sign to Become a Participant?

Yes, and this is a very important document to review.

 

 

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