Step 1: Educate Yourself

The phrase that “Knowledge is Power” is highly relevant when we are dealing with separation or divorce. This life event shifts the ground under our feet in a way that makes most people extremely uncomfortable.

The only way to reduce the discomfort and ensure that we make the right decisions is to gain as much knowledge as we can and find quality professionals who act in our best interests instead of their own financial interests.

It is most important to remember that our lives will move beyond separation and divorce and we must remain vigilant in our focus on the quality of our lives after divorce. After all, the best revenge is living well.

The First Step: Contact Alpha Center

The first step is the most important and difficult one. It is always best to begin by speaking to professionals who can discuss your options. Contact us by phone at 1-800-310-9085 or by email to AlphaCares@alpha-divorce.com. You will be greeted by an Alpha Administration Team member who understands how very hard this first step is because they have helped countless others in your situation. Most of our team members have been divorced themselves. They will listen to your concerns and make sure that you are given all the information you need to guide you in the right direction.

The First Meeting

If mediation sounds like a good option for you, our Team Members will offer you the opportunity to have a Free Consultation with one of the Alpha Attorney-Mediators. This attorney will meet you and your spouse at the most convenient office for you and begin to help you understand how the law may apply to your individual situation. Our attorneys review each couple’s specific situation to determine what services may be the best option. As always, we work to ensure that you and your family are protected in a manner that lowers your stress while saving valuable time and money.

The separating or divorcing couple attends this meeting together so that the Attorney-Mediator can present information to each person in a neutral manner. Our neutrality is the anchor that ensures fairness and sensibility during divorce and greater financial and emotional health after divorce.

If the Attorney-Mediator determines that the Alpha program for divorce mediation is not the best direction for you, they will guide you to another resource that will best serve your needs.

Knowledge Is Power Resources

Questions and Answers

When should I take the first step to get more educated about Separation or Divorce?

Finding out more about separation or divorce is always best before anything is divided or sold. It can never hurt to educate yourself and talk with professionals. We are not going to push you in one direction or another, we are here to inform and support you in making the best decisions for you and your family.

Sometimes spouses have a discussion where they mutually agree that it is time to end the marriage. Other times, one spouse makes the decision to end the marriage, leaving the other one with no choice. You can delay a divorce and make it much more expensive and damaging for everyone concerned, but you can never stop it from finally happening.

If there is a prolonged physical separation within a home or a separation of homes, it is time to inquire about your rights and responsibilities during separation and perhaps divorce.

It is usually very helpful for people to work with a therapist to help clarify thoughts before beginning a separation or divorce. Our friends and family are a good source of love and support during these trying times but they do not have the objectivity and training of a good counselor. Alpha Center maintains a Resource Directory of Therapists that can help you decide whether you should begin to explore divorce and how best to handle it.

Sometimes people take steps toward separation or divorce and then decide that they want to return to working on the marriage. Their experience causes them to renew their commitment and appreciation to their spouse. Other times, they wish they had taken the steps earlier since they can now see clearly that their quality of life has suffered and will now be improved.

A therapist can help you work through your feelings about your relationship, and an Alpha Center consultation is a good way to explore your options for free without feeling like you’re being pushed into a huge and costly life decision.

What is the Difference between Separation and Divorce?

Separation and Divorce are two different phases in relationships and sometimes Separation does not lead to Divorce.

Separation occurs when couples move into separate bedrooms in the same household or move into separate households.

It is never a good idea to take the step of separation without good legal guidance from an Alpha Center Attorney-Mediator. There are significant legal effects of separation and it is best to understand them in the beginning rather than find out too late that we have lost important rights that could have been easily protected. If a separation has already taken place, the sooner you seek legal guidance, the better. Never sign anything to do with assets or debts until you have good legal advice.

The best legal protection for Separation is a carefully written Marital Settlement Agreement that clearly spells out each of your rights and obligations. Without a written Agreement, you have only verbal assurances that do not cover all that needs to be addressed and can be changed without consequence. With a Marital Settlement Agreement, you are on solid ground legally and personally. Working with the right professional on a marital settlement agreement assures you aren’t overlooking anything, and doing mediation will mean that you and your spouse will work through difficult decisions in the healthiest way possible.

Sometimes couples want the protection of a Marital Settlement Agreement in separation but they do not want a divorce. They may not be ready for the finality of divorce or they may want to keep health insurance benefits available for one of them through the other’s employment.

Other couples want to fully terminate their marriage for legal purposes so that they have no liability for the other person’s actions or so that they can get remarried. A divorce is required to do that.

If you do decide to divorce, Alpha Center works with you to secure a divorce decree from the court by mail, so you don’t have to go through the stress of going to court. A divorce decree is a one-page document signed by a judge stating that the marriage is terminated.

The unfortunate and costly alternative to mediation is litigation. A couple’s fighting divorce lawyers will likely have you in court repeatedly over various legal battles, where the judge will make the final decision instead of you.

What are the benefits of Alpha Center’s Divorce Mediation Program?

For the past 20 years, Alpha Center professionals have focused on one singular mission: guiding couples through the divorce transition in a sensible way that reduces the time, money, and stress of divorce.

When our founder first began the program, there were no other options but the destruction of divorce litigation attorneys who claimed couples could not mediate their divorce. Since then, the over 5,000 people who have used the Alpha program for divorce mediation have proven them dead wrong.

Here are the benefits they gained and others continue to gain from the Alpha Center program for divorce mediation:

Protect Children: At Alpha Center children come first and doing what is best for them is our highest priority. During divorce, children take a cue from their parents on how to react to the changes taking place. When you display anger and aggression towards your spouse, your son or daughter will likely mirror your behavior. Our professionals help divorcing couples work together in a way that is healthiest for the family. While kids will always be impacted by separation or divorce, they do not need to be traumatized.

Control Decisions: You make all of the important decisions about your children, money, and property with the advice of experienced professionals. The court will accept your decisions rather than making them for you.

Save Time: You will set your own pace but will be able to complete your Marital Settlement Agreement within two to four months. This is far better than the two to four years you would spend in court if you hire divorce litigation attorneys.

Save Money: You will spend approximately 20% of the cost for an average divorce and get four times as many dedicated professionals to assist you. This will leave you with far more money to enhance the quality of your life after divorce.

Reduce Stress: We can’t eliminate the stress of separation or divorce but our good guidance and support will certainly reduce it significantly. We will greatly decrease the time you spend in this transition so that you can shift your focus to building a new life, rather than being consumed by the past.

Secure Future: From the first moment you enter our divorce mediation program to the moment you complete it, we focus on the quality of your financial future after divorce. Our efforts are fully directed toward making sure you and your children establish a secure financial future, regardless of any problems in the past.

What is the Cost for Alpha Center’s services?

We have always prided ourselves in keeping our fees as low as possible so that our clients have more money to begin the next chapter of their lives.

Alpha Center’s fees are about 20% of those charged by divorce litigation attorneys. The prices are competitive with other divorce mediators, but we cover more valuable professional services that others leave out. We do not cut corners on your future, so we charge what is required to support you in all aspects of ending an old life and starting a new one.

Each client is given a flat fee for their entire divorce mediation program so they know exactly what their total cost will be. Our flat fee system ensures that clients don’t have to worry about getting another bill because their circumstances require more legal research or other services. Payment plans are extended to those who need them and they can be paid through any major credit card.

There is no doubt that the fees at Alpha Center are reasonable for the services received, and that clients get the best value for their money.

How Long does Separation and Divorce Mediation Take?

Most clients sign their Marital Settlement Agreement within 4-5 months. In some cases, an expedited process is possible. The Marital Settlement Agreement defines the rights and obligations of each party and is enforceable in court, so it is the key piece legally.

We recommend that you neither move too quickly nor too slowly toward a signed Agreement. Without the Agreement, important legal and personal matters remain unresolved so it is not good to stay in “limbo” for too long. However, the Agreement will be one of the most important legal documents signed in your lifetime, so a fair amount of preparation and reflection is recommended.

What if my Spouse will not Agree to Attend a Free Consultation?

Sometimes one person understands the true value of the Free Consultation and the other does not. They may be reluctant to attend for a number of reasons: they may feel it signifies defeat or capitulation to what the other person wants, they may feel they’ll be pushed into services they don’t need, or they may not understand the benefits this meeting provides.

There is no doubt that both people will acquire critical information at this meeting. It will open the door to one path that would ultimately save a great deal of time, stress, and money. It is best to direct the “reluctant” spouse to this website and encourage them to speak directly to an Alpha Center Team member.

How you approach your spouse about divorce and Alpha’s Divorce Mediation Program can have a profound effect on their willingness to learn more. For greater insight into the most effective approach, read the article “Speaking with your Spouse about Divorce and Mediation.”

What if we don’t Agree on Some Things (or on anything)?

Although some clients come to our program with a general outline of what they collectively want, most do not. A few are quite amicable, a few are hostile, and the majority of our clients are somewhere in between.

The fact is that 85% of our clients successfully conclude their separation and divorce matters through the Alpha program. We can attribute some of that high percentage to the quality of our program and professionals. However, we give a lot of the credit to the wisdom and hard work of our clients.

When they get stuck at an impasse, they usually take a step back and remember that a compromise is far better than paying $30,000 or more in attorney fees to roll the dice in court. They understand that, by choosing our divorce mediation program, they are already assured of coming out far ahead of those who choose divorce litigation.

If kids are involved, our clients often motivate themselves to navigate through difficult conversations with their partner for the benefit of the family as a whole. Mediation is the best option for the least negative impact on children. Couples can make it work, even knowing that they have a hard time coming to agreements.

What if my Spouse is “Stronger” than Me?

Couples who reach the separation or divorce stage often have power imbalances that make one person feel more in control and the other feel more controlled. Alpha Center professionals take very seriously their responsibility to “level the playing field.” Our mediators are skilled at educating each person and creating space for an equal voice in decision-making.

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