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The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Divorce

By Anonymous

I have an image in my mind of the presiding judge’s expression during my divorce trial that I cannot shake. A mix of disdain and impatience that, to this day, is disturbing to the point of shock. You are a professional; you are paid to do this; this is your job, I wanted to remind him loudly and often as my divorce dragged on through delays and setbacks and hours of testimony. Mostly, though, I was afraid: This judge is disdainful and impatient AND he is going to make decisions about our children, our home, and our money that will matter for the rest of our lives. How can this possibly be a good thing?

It isn’t a good thing. And you do not find that out until you are in the teeth of the process. If I could change one thing about the experience of divorce, it would be the court system. The very place where individuals have every right (our taxes pay for this system, after all) to expect civility, wisdom, and justice is, from my perspective, the last place it is found. This is not the way divorce should be adjudicated in the 21st century. How it came to be that way is beyond my interest. The important question is, What can be done about it?

My divorce took five years and cost the two of us $45,000. That is our problem, and the result of many contributing factors – fighting, dueling attorneys, an unwillingness to accept the impersonal equations used to determine the resolution. Not to mention simple, visceral fury. Every divorcing couple faces these factors to some degree. The costs are excessive when there are two attorneys involved. Stress mounts and subsides, mounts and subsides. Time needs a whole new definition, one closer to geologic periods than the years and months we reckon by. Call it a divorce Pleistocene. That is what it feels like. It takes forever, and by the end every living emotion has gone extinct.

Still, what boggles my mind most is the mess of the process. I still cannot believe this is how traditional divorce works.

There were delays over the slightest technicalities. There were frequent and arbitrary continuances. If either spouse wants to muck up the process just to be obnoxious, their motions are simply sucked up into the engine of the proceedings, and become yet another hearing or conference. Just seeing a court notice in the mail was enough to wreck my whole day. I opened all those envelopes with sweaty hands.

As for the hearings themselves, I was made to keep quiet when I wanted to speak in my own defense. I was made to take the stand when I wanted to sit in the corner and weep. The rules were never clear to me, and seemed to change by the minute. It was like going over the falls, blind. I missed days and days of work. I felt like a criminal simply entering the courthouse. Put your briefcase in this bin. Take off your earrings. Take off your belt. Empty your pockets. No food. No crying. And if your cell phone so much as vibrates in the courtroom, we will take it away from you.

Wait a minute, how old am I?

I wasted time in dismal waiting areas peopled with miserable spouses scowling at each other across dirty carpets. Sometimes there were open fights. Sometimes there were screaming matches. Sometimes there were bleary-eyed children sitting with their parents, their expressions quite clearly saying, I should be playing in a park instead of sitting on this sticky chair.

Then, in the courtroom waiting for my own hearing, I wasted more time watching couple after couple go before the judge with the same sordid arguments and the same painful details that none of us should know about strangers. When it was finally my turn, I just wanted to go home and hide in a closet.

And that was before I found out that my judge had not practiced family law – at all – before taking the bench. Meaning, he was a divorce law rookie. Worse than that, a divorce law rookie with seemingly unlimited power over my divorce.

It is said that arbitrariness and uncertainty are harder on the human psyche than actual suffering. They must have been talking about divorce. Nothing about the divorce process worked efficiently. Nothing. Not one thing.

Four years before my divorce ended, my attorney predicted how it would all fall out. Based on the formulas the court uses to determine this stuff, I was told I would get a certain percentage. I was told my spouse would get a certain percentage. I was told my children would probably be with me this amount of time, and probably with my ex that amount of time. When the decision finally came down several years and tens of thousands of dollars later, that is exactly how it fell out.

So. Why did I waste all of that time and money and emotional energy? I have no good answer. All I can say was that I, too, was sucked up by the process and spit out at the other end.

Words of advice to anyone else considering a traditional divorce? Don’t have a bad divorce. Save yourself. Find another way. The process will ruin you almost as much as the divorce. And it is no fun at all being extinct.

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A New Way To Divorce – Divorce Alternatives

New “SnapDivorce” Service Combines Fact Investigation and Analysis with Binding Arbitration to Slash Costs and Delays for a Fair, Private, Stress-Free Divorce

There are well over half a million divorces in the United States each year, many of which ruin couples financially and emotionally. As nearly anyone who has gone through the process can attest, the divorce system is overwhelmed with cases, expensive, fraught with delays and staggeringly wasteful.  And the previously existing divorce alternatives are not much better.

Kevin Handy, a partner at Cooley & Handy, has developed a new way to divorce through SnapDivorce, which bypasses all the factors that make divorce a legal nightmare for couples. Based on the principles of binding arbitration – utilized by national and global corporations to solve legal disputes – SnapDivorce can resolve a divorce in a matter of months at a fraction of the cost of traditional divorce.

In short, SnapDivorce offers a new, game-changing divorce experience.

“Couples get into the divorce process and they are, without exception, shocked at how the system works,” says Handy, whose firm with partner Patricia Cooley has over 40 combined years of family law experience. “The entire process is designed to be adversarial. Even in simple cases, divorce can take years and cost tens of thousands of dollars. This is the norm in the United States.

“At Cooley & Handy, we have always done our best to mimimize costs and delays for our clients, but there are many things beyond our control, most notably the overburdened adversarial court system.”

Having seen families financially and emotionally devastated by the system, Handy constantly thought about alternative options. But when he simply asked himself the question, “If I were faced with divorce, how would I want to do it?” the idea for SnapDivorce was born.

“This is the way I would do it, without a doubt,” says Handy. “There probably isn’t a divorced couple out there who doesn’t wish they had had an opportunity to divorce like this – without lawyers, without court appearances, without the spirit-crushing work and stress.”

Under the principles of binding arbitration – which is entirely legal and has a history of use in the United States – SnapDivorce will investigate, research, and resolve divorces. Because the entire matter is handled under one roof, without the need for dueling attorneys or court appearances, SnapDivorce creates huge efficiencies for couples and reduces the acrimony caused by litigation.

Most divorcing individuals believe they must each hire lawyers of their own. But Handy points out that divorce resolutions are generally based on standard factors and equations that have little to do with the issues couples fight about most. A good attorney, Handy says, can accurately predict within about 15 minutes how a specific divorce will turn out. Given that reality, why do couples insist on fighting for years and wasting money that would be better spent on college educations for the children, a new home, or simply starting new lives?

SnapDivorce uses a three-step process designed to resolve a divorce – with a legally binding Divorce Decree – in an average of four to six months, for a flat, one-time fee of $9,750. The couple meets with a SnapDivorce Navigator twice — once at the beginning of the process and once at the end. Meetings are held in comfortable, private offices. In the interim, SnapDivorce Navigators gather all the financial documentation in the case, research all the assets, and turn the information over to a panel of family law experts who deliberate before rendering a fair, neutral, binding decision.

The divorcing couple does not have to do anything – no arduous discovery, no contacting financial institutions, no chasing down home appraisals and credit card statements. SnapDivorce meetings can even be arranged during the evening or over the Internet, for maximum convenience

“Everything else in society is changing so quickly, except for the way we process divorces. They are still crammed through a system that dates back to the Middle Ages, originally used to resolve disputes over land or animals,” says Handy.  “That is crazy in the 21st Century. This is a new way to divorce. It is cutting-edge. It is designed to be as efficient, fair and inexpensive as couples have every right to expect.

“If I were getting a divorce,” says Handy, “I wouldn’t turn the most important issues of my life over to an overburdened court system. I would want to use a fair, neutral, one-stop flat-fee service. I would want SnapDivorce.”

SnapDivorce services are presently available in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. For more information, browse the SnapDivorce website at: www.SnapDivorce.com. Company headquarters are located at: SnapDivorce,  LLC,100 South Main Street, Suite 201, Doylestown, PA 18901. For information, please call: (215) 923.3040.

Kindly share this newsletter with anyone you may know who is facing the prospect of divorce. Let people know there is a new, better way to divorce.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO DIVORCE IN PENNSYLVANIA?

Look over the figures below. They are not exaggerated to convince you that Traditional Divorce is grotesquely expensive. It is grotesquely expensive. These are true estimates of the cost to divorce in Pennsylvania, including attorneys’ fees and charges for all the filings, analyses, consultations, motions, hearings, conferences, petitions, and appraisals you can expect with a Traditional Divorce.

 With SnapDivorce, you won’t face such numbers. You will know, up front, how much your divorce will cost. SnapDivorce could save you an average of $45,000 or more on your divorce. Because we think you can find something better to do with $45,000 than spend it on legal fees.

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SnapDivorce is able to charge you a low flat fee for two reasons.

One, we’ve been doing this for decades. We know how to cut to the chase, so we don’t waste your time and money with false hopes and extravagant claims. A good attorney can predict within 15 minutes what the outcome of your case is likely to be. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars and years of your life only to come up with the same result SnapDivorce can get you for $9,750 in six months?

Two, we streamline the process by doing the work ourselves. We zero in on what we need to make a fair judgment, and sideline the rest. We don’t have the wasteful back-and-forth with opposing lawyers. You don’t waste your time and money sitting around in a courthouse waiting for a judge. You save money and we come to a more efficient conclusion.

The SnapDivorce fee includes the following: two conferences with our Divorce Navigators – one at the beginning of the process, and one at the end; the solicitation and gathering of all “discovery” materials – financial documents essential to establishing worth, assets, and income differentials; financial analyses; an independent home appraisal; any necessary interim orders concerning support, assets or other relevant matters; a final written decision rendered by a panel of three experienced divorce arbitrators; the filing and processing of all legal documents with the court in your jurisdiction; and the final, court-authorized Decree in Divorce.

Questions? Please visit our website at SnapDivorce.com, glance at our FAQs, call us, or use the Question Box under the Contact Us tab for more information.

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