The new year is a time when a lot of people take a good hard look at their lives, and make decisions about what they want in the future. If you, like others, are taking a hard look at your life and thinking that maybe your marriage just isn’t panning out the way you thought it might, this article is for you.
It’s pretty scary for anyone whenever they start to think about ending their marriage. It’s scary particularly because, for most people, there are just so many unknowns. It can be incredibly overwhelming, just worrying about all the things you don’t know. Who will get to (or have to) keep the house? How will you afford to live? Can you pay your bills without his income to count on each month? What about retirement? How will you handle custody? Will he fight you on everything–or anything–or nothing at all?
Marriages end for all sorts of reasons. Infidelity or abuse, but also general dissatisfaction or just growing up and growing apart. It doesn’t really matter why, and I’m not here to judge or talk about good or bad reasons. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re unhappy, unsafe, or unfulfilled in your marriage, that’s a good reason to start researching your options. After all, getting information doesn’t mean that you have to call it quits; in fact, all the time I meet with women who ultimately decide to save their marriages. It’s really up to you, I just want to make sure that, whatever you do, you get the right information so that you can make the best, most informed decision possible.
So, let’s talk about first steps for women who are thinking about a separation or a divorce.
1. Request a free copy of our book.
If you’re thinking about separating, a good, safe, incredibly cost effective first step is to request a (FREE!) copy of one (or more) of our books. We have four, so you’re sure to find one that speaks to your specific situation.
What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce — A quick read, this book is designed to help provide Virginia women with all the information they need to make decisions about their divorces. In it, we cover separation, contested and uncontested divorces, important financial records, how custody and spousal support are calculated, and tons more.
What Every Virginia Military Wife Needs to Know About Divorce — This version of our original book is designed to provide all the information we provide in our traditional divorce book, but we added in facts specific to military families. We talk about how military retirement is divided, and about all those other programs work–BAH, SBP, TSP, and more. It’s perfect for any (female) active duty military servicemember or military spouse considering divorce.
The Woman’s Custody Survival Guide — If you’ve got kids under the age of 18, this book’s for you! Filled with tons of information about how custody and visitation is calculated in Virginia, including the ten best interests of the child factors, how custody and visitation are determined, what happens when you go to court, and even how special factors affect custody (like gay marriage, homeschooling, special needs children, breastfeeding and more) this book is a must-read.
The Women’s Guide to Selecting an Outstanding Divorce and Custody Lawyer — If you’re trying to figure out your divorce options, like whether to hire an attorney (and, if so, whom to choose) or do it yourself, this book is for you. You’ll learn all about how attorneys advertise (so you can tell the difference between what’s advertising and what’s actually there to help you make a good decision about your attorney), how AVVO and Martindale-Hubble score attorneys, the questions you should ask during an initial consultation, and even be provided with an attorney scorecard to take in with you to your appointments.
When you request a book, we’ll send you an email with an e copy of the book right away. So, if you’re pressed on time or dying for answers right this minute, you can get them as soon as possible. If you live in our immediate area, too, you’ll get another email asking for physical address information. If you provide your address, we’ll send you a hard copy of the actual book. (Yes, for free! We’ve printed the books, and we’ll package them and ship them to you at absolutely no cost to you.) We send the books in a plain, white envelope with no flashy return label, so no one will know what’s inside. We’ll send it to the spouse-safe address you provide, so if you and your husband are still living in the same house, have it sent somewhere else. Your mom, sister, friend, or coworker can receive the book on your behalf; we send things like this all the time.
After you receive the e copy of your book, you’ll also start receiving one of our email sequences. The divorce and custody books even offer you admission to a free e course, filled with lots of up to date, Virginia specific information written by one of our licensed and experienced divorce and custody attorneys–just to help add to your knowledge base.
By the time you finish reading these books, you’ll be better informed than most Virginians (including your husband, unless he’s also a family law attorney). What a great place to be in, right?
2. Attend a seminar.
For nearly 30 years now, we’ve been teaching divorce and custody seminars for Virginia women. If you’ve already gotten your copy of the book but still have questions and want to talk to an attorney (without paying the cost of an initial consultation just yet), this is a great way to get that information at a super low cost.
What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce — Our original seminar, What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce (or “Second Saturday,” as we affectionately refer to it) is offered three times a month. On the Second Saturday of the month (hence the name), we teach it in the morning in both Virginia Beach and Newport News. On the Third Tuesday of the month, we teach it in the evening in Virginia Beach.
The cost to attend the seminar is just $40 if you pre-register or $50 if you pay at the door. We cover tons of information and take questions directly from the audience, too. Each seminar is taught by one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce and custody attorneys (we teach them on a rotating basis), so you can be sure that all the information you’re getting is up to date and Virginia specific. Each seminar lasts an hour and a half, but, once you come, you can come as many times as you need to get the information that will help you make these important choices.
Custody Bootcamp for Moms — Our custody seminar is an intense, all day seminar, taught by Kristen Hofheimer and Caitlin Walters. It’s designed to teach Virginia moms who intend to represent themselves in the juvenile and domestic relations court what they need to do to get custody of their kids, but lots of women also come to check up on their attorneys (or just learn more about the process). We cover everything, from how to prepare a trial notebook, how to address the judge, what to wear, when to sit and stand, how to question and cross examine witnesses, prepare opening and closing arguments, and more–it’s really comprehensive. Kristen and Caitlin will stay until the last woman’s last question is answered. The cost to attend is $197, and it’s pretty awesome.
3. Check us out at Girl’s Night Out.
Okay, okay, so this step won’t make your case move faster, but it may make you feel a lot better. We started these events a couple years ago to give our current, former, and prospective clients an opportunity to meet up and connect. So much of the time, divorce cases are really isolating, and we felt like there was a need for women to talk to each other about what they’re going through.
These events aren’t about divorce, though–they’re social. They’re really mostly about making connections, and, for us, about providing the opportunity for you to make those connections. Our attorneys go, though, too, so if you’re considering hiring or just want to meet us, it’s a great opportunity. We can’t answer case-related questions; we’re there to have fun, too. But we WILL buy you a couple drinks and share some yummy snacks with you. All on us, of course. Bring a friend or just yourself, but make sure you come. It’s a great way to get started.
4. Set up an initial consultation, or consider doing it yourself.
If you’ve been through the first 3 steps and you’re still planning on moving forward, it’s time to make decisions about how you plan to start your case. You can meet with one of our attorneys, if you’re considering hiring an attorney, or you can consider handling your divorce on your own.
To schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200.