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Table Of Contents

Diana Mercer Introduction

Chapter 1: The Legal And Emotional Landscape Of Divorce: A View From The Summit

  • Beginning at the End
  • Overview of the Legal Process of Divorce
  • Emotional Guideposts for Divorce
    • If You Initiated The Separation Or Divorce
    • If You Are Faced With A Separation Or Divorce You Did Not Want
    • If You Have Children And Are Divorcing
    • As A Family Member Or Friend To A Divorcing Person
Chapter 2: Planning For Success: Your Success Depends On The Path You Choose
  • The First Steps
    • How Do I Start The Legal Process?
    • How Could This Be Happening To Our Family?
    • Why Are My Feelings So Complicated?
    • What Will My Family And Friends Think About Me?
  • The Next Steps
    • What Should I Do Before Leaving?
    • What If I Can't Mobilize Myself To Do This Planning?
    • Personal Assessment
Chapter 3: Making The Intial Decisions: Charting Your Own Course
    • What Are My Legal Options For Ending A Relationship?
    • What Are My Options For Divorce Representation?
    • How Do I Find, Choose, And Use A Mediator?
    • How Do I Find, Choose, And Use A Lawyer?
  • Emotional Ramifications Of Early Legal Decisions
    • How Do I Handle The Conflicts That Arise Between Us As We Prepare To Divorce?
  • Personal Assessment
Chapter 4: Steps To Success: Taking Each Hill One At A Time
(read an excerpt from this chapter)
  • Filing for Divorce
    • Does It Make A Difference Who Files First?
  • Preparing Your Spouse to Receive Divorce Papers
  • How to Serve the Papers
  • The Mandatory Waiting Period
    • What Are The Legal Issues We Must Settle During The Waiting Period And Prior To The Divorce?
  • Alimony
  • Property Division
  • Personal Property in All Jurisdictions
  • Assets
    • How Do We Use Our Assets For Mutual Benefit?
    • What Should We Do About Our House?
  • Tax Considerations
  • Fault
    • Will Fault Issues In The Divorce Impact Asset And Property Division Even In "No Fault" Divorce?
    • If Fault Rarely Affects Asset And Property Distribution In Court, What Role Does Fault Play In Divorce?
    • What Will Be Happening Between My Spouse And Me During This Time?
  • Negotiating with Your Spouse: Skills and Tips
    • How Do I Manage My Anxiety During This Time?
    • What If I Have Sex With My Spouse?
    • What If I Want To Date Someone New?
    • What Do I Do If I Want To Have A Calmer, Friendlier Divorce, But My Lawyer Has Advised Me To Be Tougher?
  • Personal Assessment
Chapter 5: Evidence And Pretrial Procedures: You Can Never Be Too Prepared
  • Appropriate Preparation for the Journey
  • Putting the Evidence Together
  • Discovery: Releases, Interrogatories, Depositions, and Subpoenas
  • Hidden Income
  • Personal and Fault Issues
    • What Are The Standard Pretrial Procedures?
  • Court-Sponsored Settlement Conferences
  • How to Use Pretrial Process
  • When And Why Should I Go To Trial?
  • Effecting a Settlement
  • Personal Assessment
Chapter 6: Trials: Taking The Long, Hard Route
  • Court Intervention
    • What Is The Procedure In A Trial?
    • What Counts As Evidence?
    • What Documents Are Needed By The Court?
    • How Can I Do Much Of The Work Myself And Save The Lawyer's Fees?
    • What Kinds Of Witnesses Should I Consider?
    • What Kinds Of Discovery Can Be Used At Trial As Evidence?
    • How Do I Prepare For The Financial Part Of My Trial?
    • If I Did Something Along The Way That May Hurt My Case, Should I Lie About It?
    • What If My Spouse Is Lying?
    • How Should I React To My Spouse's Lie?
    • What Am I Likely To Be Feeling During The Trial?
  • Personal Assessment
Chapter 7: Taking Care Of Myself And My Children: How Not To Get Lost
  • The Decision to Separate
    • How Do We Tell The Children?
    • How Will My Children Feel And React?
    • How Can I Best Help My Children During This Early Stage Of Divorce?
    • Will My Children Be Okay In A Divorced Family?
  • Personal Assessment
Chapter 8: Legal And Residential Arrangements: Finding Familiar Paths For Your Family
  • What Are Our Legal Optiions For Raising Our Children After Divorce?
  • Shared Parenting (Co-Parenting) Versus Custody
    • What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Shared Parenting?
    • Do Children Fare Better In Shared Parenting Arrangements Than In More Traditional Custody Situations?
  • Developing A Schedule For Living Arrangements
    • What Are The Most Common Living Arrangements And Schedules Adopted By Divorcing Parents?
    • Are There Alternatives To The Typical Shared Parenting Plans?
    • What Are The Recommended Schedules For Children Of Different Ages?
  • Common Misperceptions In Thinking About Shared Parenting
    • What Are The Necessary Elements Of A Parenting Plan?
    • What If We Can't Agree?
    • What Do I Do If My Child Doesn't Want To Visit?
    • Can I Relocate?
  • Where Child Support Fits In
    • What Are Child Support Guidelines?
  • Child Support Versus Custody As A Financial Decision
  • Where Child Support Is Spent
  • Personal Assessment
Chapter 9: Contested Custody Cases: Hazardous Territory And Loose Footing
  • When To Consider A Custody Battle
  • Telling Your Children About Why You Are Involved In A Court Battle
  • The Special Features Of A Contested Custody Case
    • How Do I Choose An Evaluator?
    • What Happens In An Evaluation?
    • What Are The 'Best Interests' Criteria Considered In An Evaluation?
    • How Do I Maximize A Successful Outcome?
    • What Can I Expect From Evaluation Recommendations?
  • In The Event Of A Trial
    • How Do I Help My Children At This Stage?
    • What Do I Do If I Think My Spouse Has Turned The Children Against Me?
  • Personal Assessment
Chapter 10: Domestic Violence And Other Forms Of Abuse: When The Route Is Really Dangerous
  • Definitions Of Violence
  • Patterns Of Abusive Relationships
  • Setting Clear Boundaries For You And Your Children
  • When Your Children Are Involved And Affected
  • What If My Child Has Witnessed The Violence?
  • Assessing And Acting When You Are At Risk
    • How Do I Recognize Whether I Am At Risk For My Partner's Abuse Or Escalating Violence?
    • What Do I Do First?
    • What Consitutes An Abusive Relationship As Far As The Court Is Concerned?
  • Types Of Protection Afforded By Law: Restraining Orders And Orders Of Protection
    • How Should I Prepare To Successfully Obtain A Temporary Restraining Order?
    • How Do I Enforce The Orders With My Spouse?
  • Both Men And Women Can Qualify For A Restraining Order
  • What The Order Can And Cannot Do For You
  • Children's Involvement In The Legal Process
    • What If My Child Is The One Being Abused?
    • Should Any Child Involved In A Violent Family Be Forbidden To See The Offending Parent?
    • What If My Children Don't See It My Way?
  • Emotional Blackmail Of Children
  • Abduction
  • Personal Assessment
Chapter 11: Life After Divorce: When The Horizon Beckons Anew
  • Follow-Up Paperwork
  • To-Do List
  • Obtain A Certified Copy Of Your Final Judgment
  • Credit Issues
  • Health Insurance
  • Social Security
  • Record Keeping
    • What Kinds Of Changes May Need To Be Made In The Future?
  • If You Do Not Have Children
  • If You Have Children
  • Enforcement Of The Orders
    • How Can I Re-Create The Healthiest Life For Myself And My Children?
    • What About Disciplining My Children?
    • What About My Own Dating And Sex Life?
    • How Do I Establish New Traditions?
    • Will I Ever Be Free Of The Court's Reach?
  • Personal Assessment
Chapter 12: Conclusions: At The Top Of The Summit