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Where to begin

My wife and I have been separated for almost two years now. We have never agreed on anything. We have two children and she makes more than twice the income as me. I don't even have my own residence.

We have plenty of debt between the both of us I just want to be divorced and I want to be fair on child support. But she expects me to pay for everything.

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Submitted Fri, 10/31/2014 - 11:20

Hi there,

Starting the divorce process can seem a bit daunting. I would suggest you start by gathering information about (1) the manners in which you can go about getting a divorce; and (2) your rights and obligations. As an attorney-mediator, I often suggest that couples divorce by mediation: it tends to be far less expensive than other alternatives (including litigation) and a less emotionally burdensome process. A mediator who is an attorney is well positioned to give you information about the relevant law, while also guiding you toward a settlement that you both can live with and that a judge will accept. For a variety of reasons, most divorces, whether litigated or not, are resolved through a settlement agreement. And so, choosing a non-litigated approach, knowing that (most likely) the divorce will be settled anyhow is often the best choice for your bank account & sanity. Getting the assistance of a mediator makes sense to help you two communicate and make decisions (sometimes ones that are more creative than a judge would order but that work for your family), but also arrive at a settlement that a judge will sign off on as a judge has to ensure that an agreement is fair and reasonable before approving it. Of course, mediation is a voluntary process, and so it would require both of you to agree to it.

The two other main ways of divorcing are litigation and through collaboration. To get an understanding of your rights and obligations, you will need to get an individualized assessment based on your particular scenario: relevant information includes the length of marriage, children of the marriage, pre-marital and marital assets, income, in addition to many others.

At this point, I would send a bit of time researching the manners of divorcing in Massachusetts, and then reach out to some attorneys (including mediators & litigators, etc.) about setting up initial consultations. I -- along with many mediators, litigators, and collaborative law attorneys offer free initial consultations, so I urge you to take advantage of that.

Best of luck,

Meredith Lawrence

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