Divorce Planning: Knowledge is your key to good results.
Remember: When you know your options, you have choices.
No one marries planning to divorce and most of us feel like a fish out of water when it happens to us. We've compiled lots of good free (yes!) resources to help you piece it all together. So grab a cup of tea, or a glass of wine, and browse to your heart's content!
Divorce is State Regulated
Separation, divorce, child support and custody matters are governed by State law. Even within a State there can be minor differences between local jurisdictions.
The resources in this section are categorized by "General" or by specific State. Remember "baby steps" as you review all this info. It's overwhelming, but in small doses you'll come to understand it. If not, contact us and we'll do our best to help.
Sample Property Settlement Agreement (PSA)
This 23 page sample PSA is meant to give you and idea of what your own PSA will cover. It is not meant to be a legal document, only a guide. Each attorney and mediator has his/her own version and remember... never, ever sign any document without having an attorney review it for you.
Charts on How the States Compare
Each year the ABA Family Law Quarterly compiles comparison charts which can be helpful if you are trying to decide where to file.
The Child Support Web
Each state calculates child support differently. Visit this site, click on your State and you'll be linked to it's official Child Support Calculator and Worksheets. You'll also find links to the state's guidelines, its State and Local child support offices, and more. Caution: There are lots of child support calculators on the web, this site will get you to the official ones.
Collecting, copying and organizing lots of documents is a big part of divorcing.These 3 (free) documents, by FindLaw, will help you understand what information you need to be collecting.
A great article giving you an overview of the unique aspects of a military divorce. (It's part of the About.com Divorce Support information website noted in the next entry.)
About.com Divorce Support
Visit for short, well-written articles on all aspects of the separation and divorce process written by Cathy Meyer, someone who's been through the process herself. Subscribe to her free divorce support e-newsletter to have articles delivered to your inbox.
ABA Guide to Family Law
Subtitled The Complete and Easy Guide to the Laws of Marriage, Parenthood, Separation and Divorce this free downloadable book was compiled by the American Bar Association. It's 16 chapters cover everything from living together, to dividing property to custody and visitation to working with an attorney.
Legal Information Institue (LLI ) @ Cornell Univ Law School)
This is a gem and it's free! LII is a not-for-profit group that believes everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them without cost. Visit to research family law statues in every state, access Wex it's free legal dictionary and encyclopedia, links to legal resources and more.
Custody Preparation for Moms
Geared toward moms battling for custody, this non-profit website offers articles, links and understanding.
Divorce Manual: A Client Handbook
An excellent online resource compiled by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. It's 12 chapters cover the divorce process, from selecting and working with an attorney to children to estate issues.
Focus on Families: Divorce and Adults
Produced by the University of Missouri, this short article gives an overview of divorce from the emotional divorce to coparenting.
Gathering Evidence or a Custody Trial
A concise overview of how to gather, prove and present evidence to the court that you should have custody of your children. Excerpted from How to Gather Evidence to Present at Trial by Ruth Jones, JD as published in Managing Your Divorce: A Guide for Battered Women from the National Juvenile and Family Court Judges Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Legal Resource Kits
Visit this site to download a variety of easy to read publications designed to help women dealing with separation and divorce. Titles include: Divorce: A Guide for Women, Domestic Violence & Child Custody, How to Find a Lawyer, and more. The publications are prepared by Legal Momentum, The Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Maryland Access to Justice Commission
A great resources design to help you gather information and understand how to represent yourself in the MD civil justice system. Links to Court forms, State Law Library, self-help materials and what to expect if you go to Court.
Montgomery County Commission for Women Counseling and Career Center
Visit for information about divorce elated workshops. Center also offers couples nad career counseling. The Center offers a Legal Call-Back Program whereby legal questions are answered by phone on a call-back basis. Local attorneys provide free telephone consultations on specific questions within a two-week period. Call (240) 777-8300. You can purchase A Woman's Guide to Surviving Separation and Divorce in Maryland. Cost: $5 walk-in, $8 mail order.
Separation and Divorce
Prepared by the Maryland Bar Association, this one page brochure provides an overview of divorcing in MD. Grounds for divorce, separation agreement, alimony and child support, marital property, custody and visitation are briefly described.
Checklist: Living Separately, Under One Roof, in VA
Click to download this checklist, prepared by Brilliant Exits LLC, on the ins & outs of living separately under one roof in Virginia.
Divorce in Virginia
This brochure, prepared by Legal Services of Virgina, will give you a quick overview of the process in VA.
Fairfax County Courthouse, Divorce Information
If you plan to divorce in Fairfax County this is a good place to gather some information. You can download a 70 page publication explaining the process and providing examples of various forms. A good place to start if you are planning to do a lot of
the work yourself.
Courtesy the Fairfax Bar Association, this page has links to local Courts in northern VA, the Bar Association, Lawyer Referral Service, and Virgina legal forms.
Legal Services of Northern VA
Pro Bono services are available and Helping abuse victims is one of this group's primary missions
Two excellent, easy to understand free publications (with versions in many languages) are available on the Legal Services of Northern VA website. Click on titles below to download english versions or visit link above.
Visit for links to materials you can download to help you understand divorce & your legal rights in VA. Link to Legal Aid Offices also provided. Of particular note is Understanding Your Domestic Relations Rights in Virginia,
published by the Metropolitan Richmond Women's Bar Assoc. A 44-page downloadable book, it's an easy to understand overview of divorce.
Virginia Public Law Libraries
Visit site for a listing of law libraries open to the public.