Advantages to Working With Ellen Wanamaker
Working with Ellen Wanamaker provides you with a professional who has the knowledge and experience of a seasoned matrimonial paralegal and financial specialist. She has also participated in mediations and uses what she terms “divorce psychology” in every financial strategy she develops.
This translates to you having someone who can:
- Complete your divorce forms with all details and accuracy,
- Guide you to finding all documents that will be required,
- Help you understand your global financial picture and explain any tax ramifications,
- Work with you to create financial settlement proposals,
- Use “divorce psychology to “keep the heat down,” and
- Many other unique techniques to make the divorce less stressful and finalized more quickly.
If you would like to review Ellen’s formal education and background, view her Credentials page.
Ellen Wanamaker’s Divorce and Unexpected Professional Transition
Ellen Wanamaker did not just happen to begin working as a family law paralegal and strategist because she thought it would be interesting. Since the age of 12 she was completely absorbed in the field of dentistry. She started as dental assistant, then dental hygienist, then office manager for her family’s dental practice and dental assisting program coordinator and instructor. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Ellen would be in dentistry for life. Best laid plans..
Ellen suddenly found herself in the throws of divorce, or at least the undeniable knowledge that she could no longer stay married. The man she had once loved had evolved into someone she did not recognize. The love light was obviously out. Instead of going directly to a divorce attorney she began to plan, not knowing if or how she would support herself and a 13 year old.
She first visited an estate planning attorney, started a life insurance trust and changed all legal documents so no control over her life or money remained with her husband. Then she worked with a custody consultant to prepare for the custody battle. For Ellen it was about being the best mom possible. For her husband it was about control and not parting with his almighty dollars.
Finally Ellen hired the divorce attorney and for 2 1/2 years she lived the nightmare. She worked in a new dental office by day and by night she accumulated documents, prepared spreadsheets, worked on documents for her attorney and even prepared the family dental office for sale and acted as realtor for a time. She was lucky to get to sleep by 3:00 am most nights.
Ellen will tell you that she wouldn’t wish this on her worst enemy. She lived with her husband and had to walk on eggshells constantly to avoid full blown battles. He refused to pay for anything except the mortgage, and later he even stopped doing that.
Over the course of the divorce, Ellen learned every trick in the book because her husband and his attorney tried them all. Ellen was able to sidestep each and every unfair move her husband attempted. She learned all about what some people will try and how to get around these maneuvers. Her attorney was impressed and used Ellen’s work as his own.
In the midst of all of this, Ellen badly injured her right wrist. She had nerve, cartilage, tendon, muscle and bone damage damage. Her career in dentistry came to a screeching halt, and so did her new job that she planned would support her financially for years to come. But she had to focus on the divorce and worry about her income after she got it done. About 6 months before the end, Ellen’s divorce attorney said that because she had prepared just about every document and correspondence in her divorce, she might consider becoming a divorce paralegal. She put that suggestion on a shelf and forged through.
In November (more than 2 years into the process) the attorneys put together an agreement that Ellen was ready to sign. Her husband said he would but continued to stall and refuse. Their trial was scheduled for Monday February 28th. Ellen’s attorney was preparing for trial, something only 4% of divorces actually endured. On Saturday at 5:00 pm Ellen’s husband called her and asked if she and her attorney would agree to a settlement conference the next day – Sunday. She called her attorney who told her if he didn’t sign within 2 hours, he would abandon the meeting to finish preparing for trial the next day.
Ellen arrived on Sunday for the 10 am meeting. Her husband and attorney were late, feigning not being able to find the huge building on the main street. Ellen and her husband were in separate rooms. Her attorney ran back and forth as her husband either wanted changes or needed explanations for every clause on the 24 page agreement. Finally at 7:00 pm he signed and they got divorced the next day, the day of their trial. Ellen was divorced, but that’s not the ending.
Freedom Was Bittersweet…
One would assume that after signing a legal agreement you’d think everyone would do what they agreed to do. Ha! In Ellen’s case her husband still refused to do almost everything, including getting health insurance for their 14 year old. Ellen corresponded with her husband’s attorney in an attempt to convince him, but that did absolutely nothing. Ellen took him to Court 5 times in the next 3 years. The judge simply fined Ellen’s husband, which he ignored. When the fines accumulated Ellen’s husband was contacted by probation and told to get the insurance or go to jail. He asked for a regular Court hearing which Ellen agreed to. Ellen buried her husband’s case in facts and evidence. The judge ordered health insurance to be effective before he left the building or he would be arrested. After more than 6 years, Ellen was awarded the health insurance and was able to move on to…
Ellen’s new chapter was nothing like she imagined. She went back to school for paralegal studies and graduated at the top of her class with honors. She began working with attorneys and branched out to working with individuals who she would then take to attorneys that she knew could help them. During this time Ellen prepared all financial documents and helped prepare settlement agreements which the attorneys were able to accomplish. When you ask Ellen what she does now, here’s her response:
“I help people who are so stressed from divorce they have analysis paralysis. I help them clear the brain fog and guide them financially and personally to the light at the end of the tunnel. These people are able to start their new life with peace of mind and control of their financial futures.”