Laura Wasser wants to help you make it as easy as possible to get through the drama and the trauma that often accompany a divorce.
A 25-year Family Law attorney, noted author and entrepreneur, Wasser is well known in Hollywood circles for not only helping high-profile clients (Kim Kardashian, Maria Shriver, Ryan Reynolds and Stevie Wonder just to name a few), but doing so with a low-key and collaborative approach that ultimately takes a lot of the financial and emotional impact out of the divorce process.
Wasser’s latest project, it’s over easy is an online platform that guides you through every aspect of your case – from completing and filing the initial paperwork to reaching a final resolution. By simplifying the complicated procedural issues, the intuitive website allows you and your spouse to focus on the substantive issues. Oh yeah, and it greatly reduces costs in the process!
Users can access a variety of educational and online tools for free, and they can get help completing forms, serving their spouse, accessing professional mediators, child custody or financial experts and other similar services at greatly reduced fees from what a traditional divorce would cost.
Currently, It’s Over Easy is available in California and New York. Exciting news for other parts of the country… they’re gearing up for a nationwide rollout this summer!
For Wasser, It’s Over Easy is an extension of her beliefs that divorces do not have to bankrupt parties, nor should the process destroy their families. Her philosophy is what she and her team describe as “the Evolution of Dissolution,” which is a fresh perspective on the ending of a relationship, and the start of a new chapter. She attributes some of the inspiration to the advent of the internet and how technology now plays such a large role in modern human relationships—people meet online, shop online, date online and now they can get divorced online.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Wasser about her latest projects and her advice for couples on how to ease their way through a myriad of divorce issues.
Let’s dive into the conversation:
Jason Crowley: You talk a lot about the Evolution of Dissolution. Tell me about what that means to you.
Laura Wasser: The Evolution of Dissolution is something I actually thought about back in 2012. As a matter of fact, I was going to name my first book that, but what we ended up going with is It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way.
The Evolution of Dissolution is a new way to approach divorce in our culture. Unfortunately, the traditional approach has not evolved much over the past 50 years. I would like to see us approach it differently and have it evolve into something people can do that is less financially and emotionally expensive.
Crowley: What do you think is going to be the impetus that drives that evolution?
Wasser: I think it has a lot to do with education, communication, and providing tools for people that will make it easier.
That’s why It’s Over Easy doesn’t just offer the platform which helps you fill out the forms and move through a self-mediated divorce with your spouse on your own at a much lower cost.
We also offer a ton of content, including my weekly podcast called Divorce Sucks. It’s the content on the site and the Divorce Sucks interviews where we have individuals who specialize in subjects like financial planning during and after divorce, mental health care, or professionals to help you communicate more effectively and co-parent, or how to talk to your children about divorce, as well as advice from people who have gone through divorce.
I’m in the unique position to know celebrities and high-profile individuals who don’t mind coming on the show and talking about their experiences. Also having an outlet for people to read about and listen to this subject is very helpful. I don’t think it’s something that has been in the public eye as much as it could and should be to raise awareness.
Crowley: You also offer other divorce resources on the site as well?
Wasser: Yes, we have what we call the Index, which is a listing of providers that can help separating and divorcing parties with all kinds of things.
This might be somebody to help with your finances, somebody to help you get new health insurance because you’re no longer covered through your spouse’s employer, somebody to help you move, somebody to help you get onto dating sites, and even somebody to help you get a great spray tan because you’re ready to go out there and date again.
All of these resources are people I have found in my 25 years of practicing law that people need as they’re going through divorce and after they’re done with the process.
It doesn’t just end when the judge stamps your paperwork and says you’re divorced. You still need a village to help you with your next chapter.
What we’re trying to create through It’s Over Easy is a full divorce and break up resource for people where they can find a community, meet them, and network with them – whether it’s online or in person – and know that they’re not alone. These might be individuals or professionals who they stay with for a long time, or they may just be people who help them get through to the next step.
Crowley: So, you’re also trying to foster a community of people who are going through the divorce process, not just other divorce professionals but other divorcing individuals as well?
Wasser: Yes. Absolutely.
Crowley: And what are you doing to drive those connections?
Wasser: We’re fostering community primarily through the content side and the blog, but we welcome people to interact with each other on our social channels @itsovereasy.
Imagine you live in North Carolina. You’re up at two o’clock in the morning, and you post, “Hey has anybody gone through this when you told your kids?” And then somebody in California goes “Yes, I totally went through that it was so painful.”
You become friends while you’re online, you can talk to people about what you’re going through.
Another way you can use the site is let’s say you have to relocate to a different town. “Hey, I just moved, and I’m in this town. Anybody know a good support group for individuals going through divorce?” And all of a sudden, you’re in a group with seven other women that meet one Tuesday a month at the Chili’s downtown and have a Chardonnay and toast to each other’s misery.
The thing is we all have friends and family members who we can lean on, but somebody else who’s actually in the same situation that you can talk to and commiserate with is hugely helpful.
We really do want to create that kind of a community amongst our users and followers. How they then take the ball and run with it from there is up to them.
Crowley: Are you thinking about building out something like a Meetup for divorce that would help facilitate that?
Wasser: Yes, at some point I’d like to be able to make it easier for people to be able to meet up and get together.
For example, there’s a divorce summit in New York coming up called “Best You Ever.” It’s a bunch of people who speak about different topics regarding divorce whether it’s financial, physical, mindset, health and wellness, and so forth.
Right now, we’re spending a ton of time with our national rollout and making sure people get the help they need to file the divorce paperwork. We’re also working hard to build out the Index in all of the other states in the U.S.
But one of the things that we have absolutely talked about is having this ability to hold national summits so people can come together and meet and listen to experts in the field. It’s another way to find support as they’re going through divorce and even after divorce.
Crowley: Let’s talk about some of your experiences and knowledge that you’ve gained as a Family Law attorney. What is the most common misconception about divorce?
Wasser: I think there are two common misconceptions about divorce.
One is emotional, and one is financial.
Starting with the financial, I think people don’t understand how expensive it’s going to be if they bring conflict and emotions into what is, or should be, a business transaction.
Take custody, for example. You have two great kids, and you want to make sure that they’re well adjusted. You want to make sure that you’re acting in their best interest and yet you spend $25,000 with your lawyers writing letters back and forth about who’s going to have Wednesday overnights.
It’s just not the best way of doing it and that adds up. You’re emotional and you’re not paying attention to what really matters. The next thing you know, you get a large attorney bill that can be really, really difficult to stomach.
Also, there’s the idea that somehow, you’re going to be able to divide all of your assets and the earnings of the parties and continue to maintain the same lifestyle to which you became accustomed during the marriage.
I think that’s kind of a misconception because by its nature dividing something and having to pay for two households as opposed to one is going to be more costly. So, people often have to downsize a bit when they’re going through this transition. Unless you’re super wealthy, that’s probably going to be your reality.
Crowley: What about the most common emotional misconception?
Wasser: The emotional misconception is that divorce is a failure, that it’s the end, and that it’s going to be terrible. Yes, it is the end of one chapter…but it’s the beginning of the next chapter. It may not be a failure – it may just be how this relationship has written itself out.
If you are a family, and if you have children, you will do well by your children to figure out the best way to get through it, continue to co-parent, and continue to be a family – while moving on to the next chapter of your life. Know that your kids are probably better served with two happy parents who get along and co-parent well as opposed to two miserable parents living under the same roof.
And I know that it’s easier said than done, but I also know that it’s doable. It makes for not only healthier parents but healthier kids going into the next generation of relationships. It makes it easier to date, cohabit, get married, and move on.
Crowley: What are some of the ways that you see finance and divorce intersect?
Wasser: I think that one major way is through better communication. I have many young people reaching out to me and attending workshops that are talking about finances prior to getting married.
Do they need prenuptial agreements? Maybe not. But do they understand what a prenup is? They should. They need to understand what the law is, and they understand what happens when they get married absent a prenup.
Also, are they having conversations with their significant other about finances? I think so often we have been taught (particularly women, but men too) that discussions about money with loved ones are not romantic or sexy. But financial issues can ruin a relationship. If this is someone who you’re going to spend your life with, you better be having this conversation.
And again, the prenuptial agreement may not be right or necessary for you as a couple but those conversations about “Hey this is what my student debt is.” Or, “This is what I’m able to contribute because this is what I earn.” Or, “My parents are older and over the next ten years we’re probably going to need to start taking care of them financially.”
Many times, people don’t have these conversations. And they need to be. Otherwise, they’re five years into their marriage and financial issues wreak havoc because they don’t have clearly defined expectations.
Crowley: What other financial issues related to divorce do you encounter a lot?
Wasser: Another issue is really knowing where you stand with regard to the laws in your state. A lot of people come into my office and they’ve been married for five or ten years in the state of California. They don’t realize that everything they’ve earned during the marriage is community property, therefore divisible by half if you get divorced.
Or, women bread-winners come in and say, “What do you mean I’m going to pay him spousal support? That’s why I’m trying to get rid of him! He’s costing me too much money!”
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The bread-winning husband would need to be paying you spousal and child support if the roles were reversed. Why would it be any different just because you’re a woman?
Crowley: I completely agree. It’s so important to stress the importance of having these conversations before marriage so people don’t end up in your office discussing them for the first time as part of a divorce.
Wasser: Exactly. In our content, we speak a lot about these conversations and prenuptial agreements. Individuals are required to be represented by attorneys to enter into a prenuptial agreement. We don’t offer a prenup service at this time, but we do have conversations about it and we have a link to an app that actually does prenuptial agreements called Prenupta. It helps individuals draft their own prenuptial agreement and refers them to attorneys.
At this point, It’s Over Easy has almost anything that you can imagine that touches on relationships and divorce. Not just marriages, but things like living together, having children together and other related content. It’s really just a matter of helping people actually implement those kinds of forms and court orders.
We have a ways to go, and we’re not quite there yet in all of those areas. Really right now we are focused on helping people initiate and complete divorce proceedings.
Crowley: Are there other organizations trying to do what you’re doing? What competitors are you running into in this space?
Wasser: Everybody always says, “Oh, I can’t believe nobody ever thought of this before.”
But people have thought of this before. There have been form-filling websites for years.
Most courthouses actually offer you the forms in their self-help center. The problem is that most of these online do-it-yourself divorce sites don’t have the content to guide you through the process which is why most of them are less expensive.
So, our competitors, if you want to call them that, usually are at a lower price point. We’re $1,500 across the board and with all of the other stuff that we offer in terms of guidance to get through everything. The only thing we don’t offer is legal advice.
I don’t believe there are other services at that price point that provide this much value. We are the next best thing to actually hiring an attorney or a mediator, and far, far less expensive.
Crowley: And if someone does want legal advice or other divorce-related professional advice, that would be something visitors could access through the Index on It’s Over Easy?
We wanted to kind of be like a Lego, and by that I mean easy to build on. So, let’s say you’re getting through it and you’ve done the initial forms and then completed the financial disclosures. Keep in mind that you’re going to be required to fill out forms that in some way, shape, or manner tell each of you what you have, what you owe, what you earn, and what you spend.
After you’ve exchanged the financial disclosures, you had a stumbling block when it comes to say, spousal support or how are you going to divide the home that you live in. And that could mean trying to decide how the proceeds from the home sale are going to be divided.
You can go to the Index and find a mediator, an attorney, or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst who can help you figure out those issues. You would pay that person separately to help you resolve that issue and come back through our site to finish the process.
Or, if you’re done, you can print out your forms that you’ve already filled out and saved on our site. You haven’t lost anything along the way, and you can continue on with somebody else.
We really wanted to make the process less frustrating because by nature it’s very emotional and frustrating. And in most states, although the law is not particularly complicated, the forms are fairly complicated…so we’re trying to help people get through those.
Crowley: By removing the procedural stumbling blocks, the divorcing couple can focus on the substantive agreements. Is that right?
Crowley: Any final thoughts?
Wasser: Anybody who is interested in a more practical path to divorce should check out It’s Over Easy. Divorce touches all of us at some point or another. If you aren’t getting a divorce, you may have a friend, a sister, or a buddy who is and together, you can all benefit from what we offer. We’re all about communication. We’re all about changing the face of divorce.
You can also keep up with us by following me on Instagram @laurawasserofficial and It’s Over Easy @itsovereasy. That’s where we let people know where I’m speaking and what we’re up to.
Looking for more divorce tips? Here are a few of our favorite resources:
- 101 Financial Pitfalls of Divorce
- A Guide to Your Home and Mortgage in Divorce
- Health Insurance and Divorce: The Definitive Guide
- Dividing Retirement and Pensions in Divorce: A Helpful Guide
- What Are The Types of Divorce
- How Should I Prepare for Divorce
Images by: Rainer Hosch via LauraWasser.net
Jason Crowley, CFA, CFP, CDFA is a divorce financial strategist, personal finance expert and entrepreneur. Jason is the managing partner of Divorce Capital Planning, co-founder of Divorce Mortgage Advisors, and founder of Survive Divorce. You can email him at [email protected].