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SPLIT: How Kids Really Feel About Divorce

dv1940064Divorce is an event, a lifestyle, a “thing,” a freak occurrence, and/or a game-changer. No one is exactly sure what divorce is, but there is one thing we do know: It affects families in unique, very personal ways. But the divorce rate stays its course at a cool 50%, and affects more children as the population rises.

One filmmaker decided it was high time the children affected by divorce had complete control of the floor. Ellen Bruno, a San Francisco filmmaker and former international relief worker, raised money on Kickstarter to fund her latest documentary, “Split”. The documentary is scheduled to be released on June 8th later this year, with the  SPLIT website already collecting orders for the DVD.

Kids Run the Show

The SPLIT website displays a startling statistic: “Almost half the children in the U.S. will experience their parent’s separation before the age of 16 — more than any other county in the western world.” This little known fact is possibly what caused Bruno to create a documentary about divorce and include interviews only from children.

The opinions, stories, information, and advice in “Split” comes from children between the ages of 6 years old and 12 years old. In an interview conducted by Vicki Larson, Bruno divulged that she originally scheduled filmed interviews with 18 children. But through the course of several the interviews, Bruno said “it was clear within minutes that it would not be helpful to them to have this conversation, so we stopped.”

And so Bruno’s documentary became the musings and outlet of 12 children between the ages of 6 and 12 who had gone through a divorce.

No Minor Status, No Service

Most (if not all) documentaries include footage of a professional to provide viewers a credible source to learn from. But “Split” is one documentary that is completely “professional” free.

“Kids are wise and intuitive, and when given the space to share their experiences, they speak truth that is clear and profound,” says Bruno. “And kids listen to other kids, often far more attentively than they listen to adults.”

This is a novel, yet completely understandable stance to take when creating a documentary about how divorce affects children. The children who have gone through a divorce may not be certified, and may not have a diploma hanging on the wall of an office, but they certainly are experts of their own familial situation.

In watching the sneak peek videos, there is no need for the camera to swivel to a therapist, sitting behind a desk, explaining what the child means when she says, “It’s like something that you really love, like, breaks, and you can’t put it back together, kind of.”

Survivors

But “Split” is not about doom, gloom, and the end of the world. On the contrary, “Split” is about children showing other children that life can, and does, get better. Bruno wanted this documentary, which is by, from, and for children, to balance the children’s realities with their expectations. Essentially, she wanted the documentary to commiserate and unite the children of divorce while simultaneously showing them the light at the end of the tunnel.

Bruno’s other motivation behind creating this documentary was to provide parents, therapists, and others a raw look at how children process divorce. Certainly, it’s a strange and looming topic for children so small, but it’s not insurmountable.

www.MyDivorceDocuments.com | Uncontested Divorce Questions Answered

uncontested divorce questionsContrary to popular belief, not every divorce has to be a drawn-out court affair with dramatic statements and ruthless negotiations. In fact, there are many ways to go about getting a divorce nowadays, and only a few of them involve nasty courtroom brawls. One of the easiest, pain-free ways to get a divorce is by getting an uncontested divorce.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce does not involve lawyers, court battles, or rulings handed down by judges. Instead, an uncontested divorce involves the divorcing spouses sitting down and deciding for themselves how to divide their marital estate.

This is how it works: The spouses going through an uncontested divorce must either agree or be able to agree on how to resolve the issues brought up in the marital settlement agreement.

Points in the marital settlement agreement in need of resolution include:

  • division of assets (like checking and saving accounts, and profits from a shared business)

  • personal property (like home furnishings, electronics, and cars)

  • real property (like houses, condos, and apartments)

  • debts (credit card debt, mortgages, etc.)

  • whether or not to award spousal support, and how much to award

  • child issues (like child support, child custody, visitation schedules, and more)

How much does an uncontested divorce cost?

The cost of an uncontested divorce is quite minimal, since the divorcee doesn’t have to pay for a lawyer. In an uncontested divorce, you must only pay the filing fee (which varies from state to state).

However, the cost of an uncontested divorce can vary based on how you go about pursuing the divorce. These are your choices:

  • Fill out the forms yourself: The upside to filling out the divorce forms yourself is there is no additional cost. But the downside is that the slightest mistake or inconsistency in your paperwork can lead to your divorce forms being rejected, which would delay the divorce process.

  • Hire a lawyer: Some divorcees choose to hire a lawyer to fill out the divorce papers for them, which drives up the cost of an uncontested divorce quickly. True, the divorce papers will be completed correctly, but the cost is usually not worth the minimal labor.

  • Use a divorce forms service: A divorce forms service is not a legal advisory center or other type of legal aide; it is a company that specializes in completing divorce forms. These companies are usually a good option because the services do not cost as much as a lawyer, and the forms are completed by professionals.

However, be wary of false divorce forms services. Scammy divorce forms service companies usually do not have a method of contact on their website (like a phone number, address, or live customer support module). Before making payments to an online divorce forms service, make sure the website has a method of securing your payment.

Can we get an uncontested divorce if we don’t get along?

You and your spouse may not be the best of friends during your divorce, and that’s okay, even in an uncontested divorce. The divorcing couple may not stand the sight of each other, but as long as they can agree on how they want to settle the matters discussed in first section (division of assets, child issues, and more), they can get an uncontested divorce.

If during the divorce, the spouses find an area they cannot agree on, negotiate, or otherwise overcome, then they may have to seek mediation. If the divorce is at a standstill because of certain issues, then the divorce is considered contested, and the couple will have to hire a lawyer.

Is this helpful information, or is there a question about uncontested divorces we missed? Let us know in the comment box below.

Collaborative Divorce: Stuck Between Contested and Uncontested

78630844The availability of the collaborative divorce process is gaining steam as more states sign it into law. A less adversarial form of divorce, collaborative divorce still allows the couple to make all separation agreements without sitting, or heatedly standing, in a courtroom.

Although uncontested divorce is the most ideal case in which spouses can settle things peacefully on their own, a collaborative agreement involving two lawyers keeps the situation out of any court drama that often ensues during contested cases. Thankfully, a new collaborative divorce law was just passed in Washington, solidly making available a more peaceful divorce experience for all involved.

Terminology Lesson

Just so we’re all on the same page, here are definitions of most kinds of divorce:

Uncontested Divorce: A divorce in which the couple agrees on all allocations of marital property, child custody, child support, and/or alimony. Uncontested divorce essentially eliminats the need for lawyers or a judge in court. An uncontested divorce usually gives a no-fault grounds for divorce.

Contested Divorce: The opposite of uncontested, contested divorce means the couple cannot make a settlement agreement on their own due to disputes. Lawyers and a judge are needed to make the settlement for them. The process is longer and more expensive.

Mediated Divorce: A divorce where the couple hires a mediator, who is usually a divorce attorney trained in mediation, to help them settle allocations agreeably.

Collaborative Divorce: Similar to mediated divorce, except the couple hires two lawyers, one for each spouse, to help them come to an agreement and draft the divorce settlement.

Good News for Washington

Despite its effectiveness, the collaborative divorce option is only enacted in a few U.S. states. One state that just made it available and signed it into law is Washington, to the joy of many supporters.

Called the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, it enables couples to utilize mental health professionals and child specialists as well as lawyers to make the out-of-court option run even smoother. Child therapist Kristin Little remarks, “You’re helping people to be good parents through the divorce, so you’re actually preventing a lot of the damage that can occur during the divorce.”

Indeed, going through divorce is especially hard on children, who tend to be caught in the eye of the storm. “I have been doing family law litigation 25 years and court is no place for families,” says Washington based lawyer, Cynthia First. When disputes need to be resolved themselves, leaving them out of the court’s hands means less hassle and more peace.

Amicable Splitting

The best way to settle any conflict or disagreement is through reasonable compromise and speedy resolution. That kind of attitude and problem-solving leads to feelings of goodwill for the ex-spouse and life after divorce. Even though spouses often have serious disagreements over what will happen to their life’s possessions during divorce, they can find a way to temper them independently through options like collaborative divorce. The collaborative divorce process frees up more time and resources for the divorcee to focus on other things, like moving on.