Interviewer:  What is an assisted divorce?

Becky Cholewka:  Family law is an interesting practice area because you have individuals who just want to fight for everything: the china, the living room rug and everything else. Then you have the majority of the people, I think, who just know that they want to get divorced. They don’t know how to do it, and the two partners are fairly amicable as far as what they want to split, how they want to deal with their assets and their debts. There’s a couple ways to do an assisted divorce.

The first way is if it’s just one individual coming to me. I can help, first of all, figure out what their legal rights are and explain those to them. But also ghostwrite their paperwork. Some people tell me, you know what, if my partner hires an attorney, they’re just going to hire an attorney and then we’re just going to all spend a lot of money. If I ghostwrite all of their documents for them, has their name on the top, we know that the legal preparation work is sound and it’s going to protect their rights. That’s a flat fee, and it’s much easier for them to move forward in that divorce process.

Another way we can do an assisted divorce is when a couple both comes to me and say, we know what we want to do. We just don’t know how to technically get through all of the paperwork and the procedures. Can you help us with that aspect of it? In those particular cases, I’m not acting as their attorney as to give them information about their own individual rights. But I am helping them along with getting all of the paperwork together, formulating all of the documents, making sure all the deadlines and technical requirements are met for that divorce to proceed properly through the bank or through the family law court. Again, that’s at a flat free price. It’s a lot less expensive than having both sides get attorneys and be on retainer.