Divorce Bootcamp for Low- and Moderate-Income Women: A Step by Step Guide to Navigating Divorce by Anna T. Merrill, Esq., does just what it says. It gives the reader detailed instructions to get you through a very difficult time. The best part is that it’s written in plain English that anyone can understand. A lot of books written by attorneys and judges are very dry and difficult to read. But not this book. Ms. Merrill speaks directly to the reader and makes it easy to find the information you need. I highly recommend this book. But remember, it is only a tool and if at all possible, you should consult with an attorney. While Ms. Merrill doesn’t and can’t guarantee you’ll win your case, at least you will be armed with much-needed information before entering the courtroom.
Anna T. Merrill is a corporate-trained attorney who transitioned into family law. She has over a decade of experience serving low- and moderate-income families.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average woman’s family income drops by 37% after divorce. Do you know what assets or how much alimony or child support you are entitled to receive? Has your spouse threatened to leave you penniless? Have you spoken to an attorney and gotten sticker-shock? Do you earn too much money to qualify for free legal aid? This book was written to help the low- and moderate-income women the legal system has abandoned by walking a hypothetical self-represented woman step-by-step through the divorce process, including:
•How to prepare financially to stand on your own two feet;
•What the court can, and cannot do for you;
•’Legwork’ that can save you money on legal fees and help you get a better outcome;
•How much child support and alimony you might be entitled to receive;
•Custody disputes … ‘fatal flaws’ and how you can fix them.
•How to show a judge that your spouse is lying about their assets and income;
•What property you are entitled to receive … and should ask for;
•Ways vindictive ex-spouses can hide money … and how to prove they are lying;
•Real life dirty tricks, traps, and pitfalls highlighted so you can avoid them;
•How to find a good attorney (if you can afford one), save money on legal fees, or combine “a la carte” legal advice with your own efforts if you can’t afford to hire a full-service attorney;
•Mediation and court-connected Alternative Dispute Resolution … benefits and pitfalls;
•How to dig up information your spouse doesn’t want you to know (discovery) like an attorney;
•Common court forms and how to fill them out;
•Separation Agreements dissected and clarified; including two blank fill-in-the form boilerplates which you can download and use in your own divorce;
•Sample discovery requests and motions – we’ll dissect each motion and show what information you can use it to get;
•Sample hearing scripts for common court hearings (including Restraining Order hearings, Temporary Order hearings, Custody Dispute hearings, Contempt hearings, and parts of a mock-Trial);
•Restraining orders … how to get one … how to keep one;
Filled with helpful examples of common court forms and legal pleadings, this book will introduce you to everything you NEVER wanted to know about divorce … but need to come up to speed … FAST!!! This is the only self-help legal book written by a woman who was once in your shoes who later went back to school to become an attorney!
The 6th Edition has been completely updated with the latest case law, including ways to sensitively handle a Christian divorce, caveats regarding same-sex couple custody disputes post-Obergefell, and a completely rewritten Separation Agreement chapter with suggested clauses for unusual situations such as extraordinary school fees, private school or homeschooling.
Legal Disclaimer: This book is not meant to constitute legal advice. The author is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. Links have been provided to direct women to their local court resources in all 50 states, but the court forms, case histories and property division examples used are loosely based upon Massachusetts examples. This book is NOT a replacement for consultation with a licensed local attorney.
“A solid, informative self-help divorce guide. This exhaustive…guide covers a range of topics related to contested and uncontested divorces, including how to gather documentation of assets, estimate child support and alimony, and even, if necessary, obtain restraining orders. She discusses many topics related to asset division and child custody, including marital debt and visitation rights. The book is aimed at the broadest possible audience, but also discusses variations in state laws.” – Kirkus (review of the 5th Edition).
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