Get Your Free Will When You Get Divorced

Free Will with Our Divorce Forms

Free Will with Our Divorce Forms

When you get divorced, you need to make new versions of your Will, Power of Attorney, and Living Will/Health Care Power of Attorney!  

Here’s Why You Need New Estate Planning Documents

You will need to change your Will and other estate planning documents after you get divorced to protect yourself, your family, and your heirs.

If you end up disabled and cannot take care of your financial affairs, your old power of attorney will no longer be valid and won’t be accepted by a financial institution unless you have your new name on it.

If you die unexpectedly, and you don’t have new estate planning documents it will create all sorts of complications in terms of “probating” your Will and making sure that your heirs receive what you intended them to receive.

Free Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will/Health Care Power of Attorney

Some courts and other divorce forms sites  will provide divorce forms for free, but here’s what you DON’T get:

1)  a free last Will and testament; 2) a free power of attorney; and 3) a free living will/healthcare power of attorney.

These are critical documents that need to be updated when you get divorced.  If you haven’t prepared these documents yet, now’s a great time to do it!  Take care of the important decisions that will protect your heirs; make your final wishes known; and protect yourself in the case of disability.

Extra Value When You Purchase Your divorce forms from the The Divorce Law Information Center.

When you purchase our divorce forms, we add to your secure client portal a free Will, power of attorney, and living will/health care power of attorney. These critical documents are powered by our proprietary document assembly solution which enables you to complete an online questionnaire and immediately  print out these documents ready for execution. Detailed execution instructions are also provided.

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Free eBook – Divorce – Download Here – Learn About Divorce

Free eBook on DivorceIf you are just beginning to think about separating and getting a divorce and don’t know what to do first, our just published free eBook on divorce titled “What You Need to Know About Getting a Divorce” is for you.  You can download it here.

Often when you first begin to think about breaking up you don’t know what to do first.

  • Should I consult with a lawyer?
  • Should I represent myself?
  • What is mediation?
  • What is collaborative divorce?
  • Should I empty my bank account and protect my assets?
  • Am I entitled child support?
  • Will I be accused of desertion if I leave my spouse?
  • How will property be divided?

What Can You Learned from this free eBook on Divorce?

This free eBook will help you to answer these questions and also help you to develop a strategy to pursue your divorce at the lowest possible cost. This is an introduction to a complex topic but it will help you to understand the issues that your are facing.

It is very possible to keep the cost of getting a divorce very low, if you and your spouse agreeing on the essential issues. If you agree on all of the key issues you will have an uncontested divorce.

Agreement will result in the execution of a Marital Separation Agreement. Once you have a Marital Separation Agreement your divorce becomes uncontested.

It is then possible for you to file your divorce papers with the court yourself and complete the rest of the steps on your own. This results in speed and greatly reduced legal fees. Instead of spending $10,000 or more in legal fees, pursue an uncontested divorce.

You and your spouse should  invest your resources in moving on with your life, rather than in legal fees. Retaining a lawyer should be your last resort.Start Your Divorce


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Why You Need a Marital Separation Agreement

Marital Separation Agreement

Marital Separation Agreement

Execute a Marital Separation Agreement as Soon as You Separate

As soon as you and your spouse execute a Marital Separation Agreement (sometimes called a Marital Settlement Agreement or a Property Settlement Agreement), your divorce will become uncontested.  You can then represent yourself in the divorce hearing, if a divorce hearing is required. If you can agree with your spouse on the major issues, and execute a Marital Separation Agreement you will save you thousands of dollars in legal fees. You don’t need counsel in order to create and enter into a Marital Separation Agreement.  When parties to a divorce are represented by counsel the cost of legal fees for both parties increases very rapidly.

If You Need Legal Advice

If you think you need legal advice, you can now consult with a lawyer for as little as $39.00 for a legal advice phone call where you can discuss your situation. This service is available from online companies like Avvo or JustAnswer.

When You Should Be Represented by Counsel

There are certain kinds of divorces where both parties should be represented by counsel. For example, a high conflict divorce where the parties can’t agree on custody or the spousal support amount or there is a disagreement about what is marital property and what is not marital property, or a situation where one party is abusing the other and domestic violence is present. These situations require that the parties be represented by counsel.

You and your spouse should be able to come to an agreement on the critical issues. Then you can incorporate your agreements into a written document. Once you have an executed Marital Separation Agreement, your divorce is more of an administrative process than a court proceeding in the sense you simply have to submit the correct documents the court and your divorce will be approved.

What is a Legal Separation?

A Marital Separation Agreement is not the same as a “Legal Separation.”

Legal separation is not a divorce, and it is obtained through a court action, (a judicial proceeding).  Unlike a divorce, obtaining a legal separation requires no waiting period. The parties can fix their rights and obligations to each other immediately via the courts rather than waiting several months. A couple may want to avoid divorce and seek a legal separation because of religious reasons, tax and insurance considerations or to continue to receive state or federal benefits. When you get a “legal separation” it results from a court order, and it has all of the characteristics of a divorce, except that you cannot remarry.

Execute a Marital Separation Agreement when you separate, but don’t file it with the court. You bring it to the final divorce hearing and it becomes part of the record.  You want an MSA during the period when you a separated in order to limit your liability and define the rights of each of you in your joint property and to limit your liabilities to each other during the period of separation.

A typical Marital Separation Agreement will cover these topics:

The agreement can cover:

  • a spouse’s right to alimony and support;
  • who resides in the home;
  • the ownership and use of vehicles and other property;
  • the ownership of personal property;
  • a division of household goods and furnishings;
  • a division of cash, bank accounts, IRA’s, etc.;
  • insurance coverage;
  • the custody and visitation of the children;
  • the support of the children (including clothing, activities, school fees, etc.);
  • payment of medical expenses;
  • credit card payments;
  • mortgage, utility and household bills payments; and
  • whether joint or separate tax returns will be filed.

A Marital Separation Agreement must be in writing, executed by both parties, with signatures being witnessed and notarized.

by Richard S. Granat, Attorney at Law, July 22, 2016

Posted in Marital Separation Agreement, Uncontested divorce | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

New Maryland “Mutual Consent Divorce”

Maryland Mutual Consent DivorceMaryland has a new ground for an uncontested divorce call a “Mutual Consent Divorce”. This new type of divorce eliminates the one-year waiting period. You can expedite your divorce in Maryland, if you meet the new qualifications for a “Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland”, —  effective October 1, 2015.

Qualifications for a “Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland”

If you don’t have any children you can qualify for this divorce which does not require a one year waiting period. This new divorce is called a “Divorce by Mutual Consent”.

It is only available to couples who don’t have any minor children. You must satisfy these conditions to qualify for a Divorce by “Mutual Consent”:

Four Conditions for Divorce by “Mutual Consent”

A couple will be able to qualify for divorce by “mutual consent” if four conditions are met:

1. They have no minor children in common;
2. They have a signed, written settlement agreement covering both alimony and property rights that they submit to the Court;
3. Neither party asks the Court to set aside their written settlement agreement; and
4. They both appear at the uncontested divorce hearing.

Separation before Filing no Longer Required

This type of divorce does not require the couple to be separated for any period of time before filing for the divorce. The only other existing, no-fault ground for absolute divorce in Maryland requires parties to be separated for an entire year before they can file.

Under current Maryland law, living together under the same roof while negotiating property and support issues, delays when a divorce can be granted on no-fault grounds. Only after a couple has separated and has lived separate and apart for twelve months can one of them file for a divorce on no-fault grounds under existing law.

The new law means that if you qualify and execute a Marital Separation Agreement, you can file for divorce as soon as each party as executed the Marital Separation Agreement.

You can also stay living in the same residence while you are your spouse negotiate the terms of your Marital Separation Agreement. This reduces the cost of securing your divorce as you will not have to move to a separate residence during this transition period while you are negotiating your Agreement.

Our divorce forms for a Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland are automated, so easy to complete and come with detailed filing instructions. This is the lowest cost way to secure your divorce.

The Hearing for a No-Fault Divorce in Maryland

If you file for A “Mutual Consent” Divorce, both parties will have to attend and participate in the hearing.

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Same-Sex Divorce in Maryland

Maryland Same Sex DivorceSame Sex Divorce

Same sex divorce is coming to Maryland. Maryland was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2012 by popular vote. Effective January 1, 2013, same sex marriage became legal in Maryland.

You can also get a same sex-sex divorce in Maryland based on any of the grounds for divorce, but the most practical ground for divorce is what is known as a “no-fault” divorce based upon a one year separation. One year separation means that the spouses must live separate and apart for one year. Getting a divorce based on adultery is problematic because the Maryland statutes require sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. The Maryland statutes have not caught up with same-sex marriage.

Same-Sex Divorce Law Needs to Catch Up

Another disconnect is the awarding of alimony. Alimony in Maryland is based on 12 factors.  Because one of the major factors is the length of the marriage and because same-sex marriage has been legal for only two years, the determination of alimony doesn’t reflect the true long term nature of many same-sex relationships. A long-term same sex relationship that results in a short-term marriage will not provide the same protections and rights to the parties upon divorce. as if the couple had been married during the entire time of their relationship.

There is a similar disconnect in determining the amount of a monetary award. Three of the factors in determining a monetary award are related to the length of the marriage. These factors only consider the property acquired during the  legal marriage.There is an equitable argument that the court needs to consider the entire length of the relationship in determining a monetary award.

In the fullness of time, the Maryland legislature is sure to correct these inequities, but in the short term it is important to be aware of the limits of current law.

Other states are likely to have the same legislative constraints in determining equitable results for a same sex marriage in the areas of the ground of divorce; property division, and alimony determination.

The best way to resolve these issues is through a Marital Separation Agreement between the parties which reflects their consensual agreement in these areas.

Our Marital Separation Agreement Service has been revised to deal with the needs of a same-sex divorce.  It can be purchased here.


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Self-Help Divorce Blog at

The “Self-Help Divorce” Concept

Self-Help DivorceWelcome to our blog on self-help divorce matters. Our goal is to help you represent yourself in an uncontested divorce. We will provide you with tips, information, and analysis on how you can secure a divorce without spending thousands of dollars on legal fees. We will also identify alternatives to the traditional way of getting a divorce. This includes identifying law firms that can help you with your divorce and which don’t charge a fortune.

About and Richard Granat

Richard S. Granat, Esq.This blog is authored by Richard Granat, a family law attorney based in Maryland, who is the publisher of this and other divorce web sites.  One of my passions is figuring out how to help people divorce peacefully and get on with their lives, without spending thousands of dollars on legal fees.  If you have children, the money is better spent on your children rather than on legal fees.

In the early days of the Internet, I become intrigued by the potential of the Internet as a means to lower the cost of legal services.  In 1998,  I established Granat Legal Services, P.C.,  to demonstrate the concept of a law firm delivering legal services over the Internet.

A virtual law firm is one which offers legal services in online at a price that people of moderate and middle income can afford. At about the same time I also created the Divorce Law Information Center to provide automated legal forms to consumers directly to enable them to represent themselves. Since then our enterprise has grown to over 40 state specific legal form web sites.

The Lowest Cost Way to Get a Divorce

In conclusion, often just having the correct legal forms will be sufficient to resolve your divorce or family law matter. This is the lowest cost way to solve your legal problem.
Check back here often to learn about the latest developments in self-help representation in divorce and other family law matters. We cover such topics as “unbundled legal services” ; new developments in divorce law among the various states; and new approaches to resolving your disputes during a “break-up” .

Breaking up is always hard to do. We hope we can make this project a little bit easier for you.

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Check Out – – Manage Child Support

janicya-Large-261x300A new web-based application has been launched which helps you manage and document your child support payments and its free if you sign up by June 30, 2015. (Really free for the life of your child support payments).

SupportPay helps parents manage child support and share expenses by providing a neutral, transparent, and secure on-line portal  where you can track expenses, make payments and share documents directly with each other.

The system takes care of providing notifications, reminders, history, reports and storage so parents can spend less time arguing over finances and more time focused on their children.

Here is how it works:

Base support is scheduled. For additional expenses a parent enters the expense and attaches a receipt. SupportPay calculates each parent’s balance, shares receipts, provides notifications, and creates a certified record. When the other parent see the expense for their children they can make or schedule a payment.

SupportPay reduces conflict because all information is stored and communicated through a neutral web-based portal. Since all information is one place parents can quickly and easily access the data for taxes or filing our court documents in case of  a modification order is being sought.

Here is a good flow chart that shows how SupportPay takes over the management of the child support payment process after a child support order or a divorce decree has issued.

We are now recommending SupportPay to all of our law firm clients  as an efficient and positive way to manage child support payments.

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Wevorce – A Better Way To Get a Divorce?

WevorceA new divorce service recently launched called Wevorce.

The service promises a less acrimonious, more peaceful and rational way for a couple to get a divorce. Rather than both spouses being represented separately by counsel, which most often ends up in an adversarial situation with escalating legal fees, Wevorce has created a new process which sounds like divorce mediation, but is actually much more.

A lawyer who is also a mediator –  the process of reaching a settlement between the spouses which includes resolving property division, custody and parenting issues, child support, and spousal support issues. When needed the team is augmented by co-parenting and financial experts to assist in the resolution process. The company claims to have developed proprietary software that aids in the resolution process. Wevorce itself is not a law firm or a divorce mediation firm. Instead it is a technology platform that is licensed to other lawyers and professionals who subscribe to the Wevorce resolution process.

This is not a fully online service. Instead the parties meet in a local office that is licensed to a local attorney under the Wevorce brand. Meetings with the parties are in person. If the parties reach agreement they are provided with the forms they need to secure an uncontested divorce.

Collaborative Divorce

I am not sure how this is radically different from divorce mediation or a process called collaborative divorce, which are also alternative dispute settlement methods. In a collaborative divorce both parties are represented by counsel and the parties enter into a binding agreement that provides that if the process breaks down, their lawyers can’t represent the parties in court in an adversarial proceeding. In the case of Wevorce, there is only one attorney called the Legal Architect and there is no such agreement. Wevorce is a non-binding process, so if no agreement is reached, the parties can still battle it out in court.

The difference may be that there are other experts who are part of the team to help the couple resolve all of their issues plus the proprietary software that Wevorce has developed that reduces the cost of the case management process and assists in helping the parties reach agreement by working through a series of scenarios that enable the parties to understand each side’s position with more clarity and empathy.  If so that would be an major advance over traditional divorce mediation, and is the kind of software-assisted mediation that I believe will be wide-spread in the future.

Wedivorce was founded by Michelle Crosby, a family law, and Jeff Reynolds, her technology partner. The company received seed funding as a result of their experience in participating in Y Combinator,  a famous Silicon Valley incubator. Reportedly, the company has raised over $1,400,000 in venture capital.


The fees for the service average $7,500 and range between $3,500 to $15,000, compared to the legal fees in the average divorce of $27,000.00.

Will this concept work? It’s still an expensive service that is not affordable by 90% of the US population. There is still lots of competition for a low-cost divorce. If a couple can resolve their issues and reach agreement the result is an uncontested divorce that the couple where the couple can represent themselves. There are many legal web sites where the correct legal forms can be acquired at very low cost or even for free.  Law firms are offering uncontested divorce forms bundled with legal advice for a relatively low fee, with the option for divorce mediation if only one or two issues divide the couple and all for under $1,000.00  See for example: FlashDivorce.

As an alternative path for upper income couples who ordinarily might lawyer up, Wevorce could be a bargain if the parties can get to agreement easily. Online divorce mediation services that are lower in cost are just getting underway, and are not a good alternative for many couples. Many couples need a third party professional to help them reach agreement. The question often gets down to cost. Couples will settle for a “good enough” solution in order to save on fees and move on with their lives.  Even $3,000.00 is much more than many couples can afford. Only time will tell whether this service will be viable.

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Consider Online Divorce Mediation If You Have Conflicts

Online Divorce MediationThe Uncontested Divorce and How Online Divorce Mediation Can Get You There

Divorce mediation, particularly, online divorce mediation, can be a quick and inexpensive way to resolve your divorce conflicts.

Here is how it works:

The lowest cost way to get a divorce, is to represent yourself in an uncontested divorce. By representing yourself in an uncontested divorce you can save thousands of dollars in legal fees. You cost is the cost of the divorce forms (under $100.00 from this web site), and the court filing fee in your state. When both spouses, execute a binding Marital Separation Agreement, settling all issues between them, the divorce becomes an uncontested divorce. If there are only a few outstanding issues that need to be settled between you and your spouse, and you can’t settle these issues between yourselves, your next best option is to work with a mediator to settle your conflicts and enter into a Marital Separation Agreement. This is much less costly than if each spouse is represented by counsel, which can easily generate thousands of dollars in legal fees.

What is Family or Divorce Mediation?

“Divorce mediation” means the mediation of disputes in actions for divorce, annulment, establishment of paternity, child custody or visitation, or child or spousal support. Mediation programs can be very beneficial to people who are divorcing as well as to those who have long been divorced but who find themselves in a dispute in their post-divorce relationship. Not only can it save money but it promotes positive dispute resolution rather than adversarial procedures. That being so, it is well worth investigating by any couple facing divorce, a child custody fight, a visitation dispute or other interpersonal conflict. Mediation is a process that may help you resolve your case so you can have an uncontested divorce. Mediation is particularly useful in situations involving children, since it is in the interests of the children that their parents “get along” even if they will no longer live together as husband and wife. In many states all cases that involve contested custody or visitation matters are referred to mandatory mediation, provided the parties are represented by an attorney and there is no allegation of domestic abuse. Mediation attempts to change disputes from “win-lose” to “win-win.” Mediation is a non-adversarial process of helping people come to agreement on issues like parenting arrangements, support of children and spouses and division of real and personal property. Mediation occurs when a neutral third-party, who has training in dispute resolution, assists you and your spouse and helps you resolve the issues that are causing conflict and to make cooperative, informed decisions.

Traditional Face-to-Face Divorce Mediation

One option is to meet with a mediator face-to-face. You can find a list of divorce mediators who you can contract with for a face-to-face mediation here.

Online Divorce Mediation: Benefits

Recently a number of Web Sites have emerged that offer online mediation. Online mediation takes place in a secure web space with the parties communicating through telephone, video, and text. Online Mediation has the following advantages:

  • Convenient and flexible
  • Secure and confidential
  • Quicker
  • Less costly
  • The parties don;t have to meet  face-to-face in the same room.
  • If the parties are separated by distance, online mediation can be an efficient solution.

Online divorce mediation will increase popularity in the next decade as online technology becomes more powerful. Here is a another good article on the benefits of Online Divorce Mediation from

Here is a list of online divorce mediation web sites:

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Divorce Attorney – Selection and Hiring

Selecting a Divorce Attorney

Selecting a Divorce Attorney

Divorce Attorney: What You Need to Know

Many people handle represent themselves without retaining a divorce attorney. In California, 75% of all uncontested divorces are managed by unrepresented pro se litigants. Family mediation is also a process that is often handled by the parties without representation by divorce attorneys.  Others decide they should retain divorce attorneys to review the draft of the Marital Settlement Agreement. If you have a pension or a large amount of property or income it is certainly advisable to consult an attorney before you sign a final agreement. An attorney can also be very helpful in advising you during the mediation itself.

You can save substantial legal fees in routine matters by finding a divorce attorney who will provide you with discrete services when you need it, and then handling the rest of the paperwork yourself using resources in this Web Site.

When Can You Represent Yourself

It is not advisable to represent yourself if you have a contested custody matter; if you have substantial property; or there is a dispute over pension rights. Self-representation works best for those with routine and uncontested legal matters and for those who can follow the instructions necessary to get from the filing of the complaint to the final hearing.

Only Hire a Divorce Attorney With Expertise in Family Law

A lawyer who normally handles personal injury law or corporate matters will not be of much use in a divorce since he or she may have little understanding of family law. Most states do not allow attorneys to state that they specialize in family law. However, firms are permitted to state that they limit their practice to family law, which means that they do not practice in other areas of the law.

Another indication that a law firm has expertise in family law is if the firm
is known to take on pro bono cases in family law. A pro bono case is a case that the firm takes on for no fee or a reduced fee because the client is financially eligible for such assistance under criteria established by a local or State Bar Association. You can also ask what percentage of the lawyer’s practice is devoted to domestic law cases

Always have a written agreement

Do not hire a lawyer based on an oral agreement. That only leads to misunderstandings. Instead, be sure the fee agreement (called a retainer agreement) is in writing and that you understand all of its terms.

Divorce Attorneys Usually Charge “By the Hour”

That means you are going to have to keep a sharp eye on the bill. Thus, do not accept a bill that reads, “fees for services rendered.” Rather, insist on a detailed monthly billing statement. If you find a mistake or there is a charge you don’t understand, bring it to the attention of your lawyer. Some lawyers are experimenting with a new form of practice called “unbundled” legal services.
These lawyers will charge you just for the advice that you need, usually on an hourly basis, to support you in your mediation and after as a pro se litigant. In this case, you will still file your own legal papers, but the lawyer will be available to provide you with legal advice if you need it.

Don’t Be Passive

Just because you have a lawyer, that doesn’t mean you do not have a job to do. You should ask questions and read the material in this web site so as to better understand the law and the process. You – not your lawyer – should make the ultimate decisions about how to proceed with your case. After all, it is your life and your future that is at stake, not your lawyer’s.

Questions you will want to ask your lawyer.

  • How long will my divorce take?
  • What is going to happen step-by-step?
  • What is your best estimate of the fees that you will charge?
  • What will be my other “out of pocket” expenses?
  • Will “experts” such as an accountant be necessary? what will that cost?
  • Will I be asked to pay the legal fees of my spouse?
  • What are the problems in getting what I want out of the divorce?
  • What is my child support obligation, if any?

 In summary, if you retain a lawyer you could spend as much in legal fees as purchasing new car. Spend as much time ins electing a lawyer as you would if you were purchasing a new car. Buyer beware!!

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