Why is divorce so darn expensive? When it comes down to it, it's all about legal costs of court, expert testimony, paperwork and lawyers. Plus, add in all those delays and the time it takes to get a court case together and the cost begins to take on an impossible amount.
Enter IDoOver's Jenni Pierson who talks with attorney and host Billie Tarascio about the benefits of a certified legal document preparer who knows the system, knows the way paperwork needs to be filed and knows the process and how long it takes. Jenni and others with the CLDP certification can take care of divorces without an attorney when the situation is uncontested between parties.
So many people try to do the divorce paperwork themselves only to have to start over when something is filed incorrectly. Jenni's affordable fees start at $49 for a strategy session with divorce package deals at IDoOver.life, and the option to dial in an attorney should the need arise.
How to Save Money On Your Divorce
[00:00:00] Billie Tarascio: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Modern Divorce podcast. I'm Billie Tarascio, and I am joined here today by Jenni Pierson. Jenni, how you doing?
Jenni Pierson: I'm well. How are you?
Billie Tarascio: Good. I'm doing great. Welcome to the show.
[00:00:16] Jenni Pierson: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
[00:00:19] Billie Tarascio: So Jenny works for, I Do Over, which is Modern Law sister company and she is a certified legal document preparer.
And so many of you have questions about, I do over and certified legal document preparer. So that is going to be what we discuss today. But Jenny, first, can you tell us how you came to law?
[00:00:39] Jenni Pierson: I can, it was actually kind of by accident. I had a really good friend. We had been friends for years and years, and I found myself out of a job and, and I kind of told her I was gonna start working for her and that was 20 years ago.
And, um, I can't imagine doing anything else or working in any other area [00:01:00] of law. I absolutely love working in family.
[00:01:02] Billie Tarascio: That's so cool. So, okay. I think in order to love being in family law, you have to be kind of a special human. Um, you have to have a high tolerance, I think for, uh,
[00:01:18] Jenni Pierson: Yeah. You know, the high conflict does kind of get to be a challenge after a while, and you just kind of have to remind yourself that you know, this is this person's first Divorce. Yeah, it might be, you know, like your hundredth, but this is their first. And you just have to remember that compassion is the most important thing, kindness. And basically remember that what we're there for is to hold their hands through this process.
[00:01:46] Billie Tarascio: Right. Absolutely. Especially as a certified legal document preparer. So let's talk about that. What does a certified legal document preparer do?
[00:01:55] Jenni Pierson: Well, we are certified by the Arizona Supreme Court to prepare documents [00:02:00] without the supervision of a lawyer. A lot of people will call me a paralegal and I have to correct them.
Paralegals work under the supervision of an attorney. And I am authorized to work independently, so I am completely on my own. I, um, luckily I have a vast, um, pot of attorneys that I can talk to and glean information from when I need it. But I, I don't have a supervising attorney. I am here to kind of bridge the gap between people who don't need an attorney or can't afford an attorney, and those who don't really know how to do it themselves.
There's a lot of resources out there, but even for someone like me who's been doing this for 20 years, it's confusing sometimes. and I know what the court wants when they want it, the format they want it in, and I'm able to make sure that everything gets filed correctly and on time, and that the client gets the end result that they're looking for.
Hopefully most of my clients are not arguing, so [00:03:00] I can pretty much tell them how their case is gonna go. Obviously, I, I can't make any guarantees if the case is contested.
[00:03:06] Billie Tarascio: so that's, that's a really great segue into my next question, which is, do you only work on uncontested divorces?
[00:03:14] Jenni Pierson: Most of my cases are uncontested divorces, but I can, with very few exceptions, file.
Um, document that needs to be filed in the family court. I have in, you know, in my career I have, um, done everything from the most simple uncontested default Divorce to high conflict, um, cases where it, you know, they go on for months and months and there's tons of fighting and there's, you know, property that has to be evaluated and, and experts that have to be brought in.
So while in a lot of cases I would. , suggest that my clients consult with an attorney on a case like that. I certainly can't assist, um, you know, until it becomes too much conflict, and my [00:04:00] involvement becomes kind of, you know, it's just not enough.
[00:04:02] Billie Tarascio: Right. Right. So if somebody comes to you and they're like, I want a motion to remove a judge, can you write it?
Is that the type of thing that you
[00:04:10] Jenni Pierson: absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I can, I can do that kind of motion. And I have.
[00:04:16] Billie Tarascio: Yeah. The really interesting thing about, people who are representing themselves, who are getting limited scope help or C D L P help is, or C L D P work is, they are driving litigation.
They're driving their own train. They are making their own decisions, and our job is to execute a function. They ask us to execute, not to give advice, Not to make decisions, not to even, uh, make recommendations. And we as lawyers are so used to driving the strategy. Many lawyers have a hard time understanding a role if they're in a limited scope capacity, which is to help execute the process of what this person [00:05:00] has decided to do.
[00:05:02] Jenni Pierson: Yeah, exactly. And That's kind of where I come in because I am, I'm so focused on each individual task. You know, when a, when someone hires an attorney, they, it's their intention, at least at that moment to be with the attorney from start to finish. And that's not how my brain works. You know, anymore.
My brain works. You, you hire me to do this thing, I'm going to do it. And then if you hire me to do the next thing, I'm gonna do that and we'll move on and move our focus over there.
[00:05:26] Billie Tarascio: That's awesome.
[00:05:27] Jenni Pierson: Yeah.
[00:05:28] Billie Tarascio: Can people hire you for coaching? Let's say they don't know what they want to do and they wanna get additional information.
Can they hire you to do
Well, I'm not an attorney and I cannot give legal advice, so, When someone, you know, calls me and say, I don't know what I should do. What do you think I should do? I have to tell them, well, I can't. I cannot give you legal advice. I can't tell you what I think you should do. I can tell you what maybe has happened, what I've seen happen in my experience, or I can tell you what the statute says.
But the great thing about I do over being Modern Law sister company is that if [00:06:00] one of my I do over clients needs that kind of direction, I just refer them over to Modern Law. So, I can't do that kind of thing, but I. You know, lots of people who can.
Yeah. And it probably depends on the question, like true, your consultations are $49 for 30 minutes, right?
Yes. Which is amazing because if, if a pro, pro litigant is unsure of, if they should file a Petition for Enforcement or a motion for enforcement, I feel like that's the type of thing you can help guide them
[00:06:31] Jenni Pierson: on. Yes, absolutely. So a lot of times it, you know, I can kind of steer them in the right direction based on they don't know what they want or need.
A lot of times, a lot of times I will know and I can steer them in the right direction based on what they're telling me. And I do that by giving them options. I say, well, it it, you know, if, if you want this, if this is the goal you're trying to accomplish, then maybe this is the way you should go. If this is the goal you're trying to accomplish, then you wanna go down this road.
So yes, honestly, a lot of their questions can be [00:07:00] answered, By my knowledge of the, the rules and the statutes and just by things that I've experienced over the last 20 years. Um, so absolutely. Yeah. Even though I can't give legal advice mm-hmm. , I am able to answer questions. Most of the time.
[00:07:14] Billie Tarascio: Right? Absolutely. Yeah. That doesn't surprise me at all. And this line that the regulators have drawn is very hard to know where it is. Yeah, sometimes it's very, very hard.
[00:07:25] Jenni Pierson: Yeah. Sometimes it's a big gray area, so
[00:07:28] Billie Tarascio: Well, and that's why I'm so excited about legal paraprofessionals. Mm-hmm. . And you are also going to get licensed as a legal paraprofessional, which.
Really remove those barriers.
[00:07:38] Jenni Pierson: Yeah, it will. I'm excited about that because it's really frustrating as a legal document preparer when I know the answer, but I can't give it. Right. So , right. So you know, I have to kind of nudge them in the right direction and, and most of the time we are able to get there.
[00:07:54] Billie Tarascio: Yeah. And it's, it's really an access to justice issue, so I am so, so, so excited. I [00:08:00] think it's a wonderful thing. Now, when people are paying you through, I do over to do documents. Is it flat fee or is it hourly?
[00:08:07] Jenni Pierson: It's flat fee. It's flat fee per, per job, basically. So, you know, They wanna hire me to do something, we do it, and then if they wanna hire me for the next thing, the exception is are packages, which are great.
We have the basic doover and the advised doover. The basic doover is 1299. It includes everything that somebody would need to accomplish an uncontested Divorce, as long as the case remains uncontested and no response is filed. Then it is 1299 start to finish.
[00:08:38] Billie Tarascio: That's awesome.
[00:08:39] Jenni Pierson: The above tool over is $2,000 and it includes everything that the basic includes plus two hours of attorney consultation time.
So it can be a really valuable tool to kind of, um, have that if, if you need a little bit extra direction. But most of my clients, honestly, they do choose the basic do overpackaged because, um, You know, [00:09:00] we're able to get it done.
[00:09:01] Billie Tarascio: Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that. So, um, if people are, if they know they are gonna need legal advice, they think it's gonna be uncontested, but they have questions that they know and you know, they're not gonna be able to answer, you might go advised.
If it's uncontested, you're gonna. Know that you can go basic for anybody else, they should probably start with a $49 meeting with you, correct? Absolutely.
[00:09:27] Jenni Pierson: Um, yeah. Unless you absolutely know that you and your, your spouse or you and you know, the other party agree on everything and there will not be any bumps along the road.
It's always great to start with the consultation because sometimes there. Going to be barriers that the clients don't know about, but I'll know about it, right? Cause it comes out during our meeting. So I I, I, it, it's difficult when they sign up and then we have to kind of backtrack. So I, it's always best to start with the consultation.
It's $49 well spent.
[00:09:59] Billie Tarascio: It [00:10:00] is, it's $49 well spent, especially when you're getting a flat fee for the document and the knowledge that you've gained during that consultation, you're gonna need to write the document.
Yeah. Yep. That's fantastic. What are some things that you wish people knew about cldp?
[00:10:19] Jenni Pierson: Uh, well, first of all, I wish more people knew that we existed in the first place. You know, I think a lot of people think it's either I have to get a lawyer or I have to do it myself. And that is so not true. You know, it, it's some people. They just, they come to me for so many reasons for, you know, either it's because they just don't have time to figure it out.
Mm-hmm. , or they just don't wanna deal with it. Mm-hmm. or they wanna make sure that it's done correctly. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to that they have gone through the whole process and they get to the end and they filed their default decree and they find out that. They messed up a step in the very beginning, and so they're coming to me to fix it, but we have to start all over.
Yeah. So I would've [00:11:00] started with someone who knew, knew what the process was, and knew how to accomplish the goal. They, they wouldn't have had to basically do it twice. So I don't know How to fix this, but I, I feel like more people need to know that we exist in the first place. You know, just that we're a resource that they can use.
[00:11:19] Billie Tarascio: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , and exactly how much you can do, which is Yeah, a lot. The answer is a lot.
[00:11:27] Jenni Pierson: Yeah. As long as we are competent and we're not giving legal advice, we can basically help any client. Cldp in general, can help any client in any area of law . So that's, that's pretty cool.
[00:11:41] Billie Tarascio: It is cool. It is cool. All right.
Um, enough business talk. Can you share three things that are unique or fun or interesting about you?
[00:11:51] Jenni Pierson: Oh gosh. Let's see. I love to travel. My husband and I travel as much as possible. Um, we have gone to some really cool places over the last few [00:12:00] years, um, and I hope that gets to continue. Yeah.
I don't have any kids, but I have a fur kid. My four-legged child, Abby, she's neurotic and very special, but I love her. Gosh, number three. Um,
[00:12:17] Billie Tarascio: well, what's your favorite place you've ever visited?
[00:12:20] Jenni Pierson: Oh if I had to pick one favorite, I would probably pick Cuba.
[00:12:25] Billie Tarascio: You've been to Cuba?
[00:12:26] Jenni Pierson: Yes. We went on a,
[00:12:27] Billie Tarascio: I'm so jealous.
[00:12:29] Jenni Pierson: I dunno why, but like my entire life I have wanted to go to Cuba. We went on you.
[00:12:35] Billie Tarascio: Ya know why?? Because we're not supposed to.
[00:12:36] Jenni Pierson: Well, that's why like it's taboo. Yeah. And it's, you know, and it was even taboo when we went, but it's actually easier to go than you'd think. But um, we took a cruise and we went to three different stops in Cuba.
So it wasn't just like I went to Havana and hung out. Which don't get me wrong, Havana is amazing. . Um, but the other two places were amazing as well. And, and it was just like, you know, the, i I, the day I stepped off that cruise ship was like the [00:13:00] best day of my life.
[00:13:01] Billie Tarascio: That is, you know, that is so cool. And so it must have been during that very brief window where we were allowed to travel there.
[00:13:06] Jenni Pierson: It was, it was 2018. Um, and cruise ships had, had been going there for maybe about a year. And, and, uh, I think within a year of, of our. They stopped, so,
[00:13:19] Billie Tarascio: yeah. Well that is awesome. That is very, very, very cool. Thank you so much for taking the time, uh, today to meet with me. I know that this, uh, podcast is gonna be super helpful to people, so I really appreciate it and I appreciate you and I am so grateful for you that you work with Modern Law and with I Do Over.
[00:13:37] Jenni Pierson: Oh, I love it. I love you. I love all of you. It's like the, it's, it's. The best decision I've ever made was joining your team, so
[00:13:43] Billie Tarascio: things that makes me so happy. All right. Have a wonderful, wonderful day. You too.
[00:13:48] Jenni Pierson: Thank you. Bye. [00:14:00]