FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
MATRIMONIAL and FAMILY COURT QUESTIONS
Are there any requirements that must be met before I file for a divorce in New York State?
In order to file for a divorce in New York State you must satisfy the residency requirement as is outlined in Domestic Relations Law Section 230 and you must satisfy one of the grounds for Divorce.
What are the grounds for divorce?
Cruel and Inhuman treatment, Abandonment, Imprisonment, adultery, living separate and apart pursuant to a separation judgment or decree, living separate and apart pursuant to a separation agreement (no fault divorce).
What is an uncontested Divorce?
When both spouses agree to the divorce and are able to determine the division of their assets and debt, and create a plan for custody and child support, they can obtain an uncontested divorce without the assistance of court.
What are the different types of custody?
There are two forms of custody, legal and physical. Legal custody involves the ability to make major decisions about the child. Physical custody is awarded to the person who is physically living with the child. There can be various forms of custody including joint legal and physical as well as sole custody to one parent.
COLLABORATIVE LAW and MEDIATION QUESTIONS
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
Under the Collaborative approach, all negotiations take place in four way conferences between parties and their attorneys. The parties and the attorneys agree at the beginning of the process that no one will go to court or threaten to go to court. The goal is to settle the case. During the negotiations the attorneys are committed to assisting and guiding their clients towards a reasonable settlement. If negotiations break down and the parties terminate the collaborative process, either party can then go to court but they must retain new counsel.
What are the advantages of the Collaborative Process?
Unlike litigation where parties are adversaries and the outcome is ultimately determined by a Judge, the Collaborative approach provides for a more civilized and rational resolution of the issues where the outcome is determined by the parties themselves. By working together with your partner, you are more likely to maintain a civil and working relationship down the road. Under this approach, you are also able to protect your children from the negative effects of getting involved in the litigation process.
- Less costly and less time consuming than litigation
- By avoiding going to court both parties and their attorneys are able to focus on settlement
- Each party is represented and supported by their own counsel throughout the entire process
- Client is a vital part of the settlement process
- Client is in charge and has control over the proceeding
- By avoiding antagonistic litigation, parties are able to maintain their dignity and respect and improve communication, which will ultimately benefit them in the long run
What is Mediation and How does it Work?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third person, the mediator, encourages and facilitates the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. The objective of mediation is to help disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The process of mediation provides the parties with complete control over the decision making process. The mediator’s role is to act as a facilitator, assisting the parties to identify issues, engage in joint problem-solving, and explore creative settlement alternatives.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
- Much less costly than the litigation process, which typically requires both parties to retain separate counsel
- Protects children from the traumatic effects of divorce by reducing conflict
- Allows you to retain control over the decisions that will affect your life
- Allows you to keep personal matters private and confidential without unnecessary embarrassment
How much will it cost to go through mediation? How long will it take?
Most mediation sessions are scheduled for one and a half hours and are paid per session on a per hour basis. The number of sessions needed to gather all information and negotiate an agreement will vary from couple to couple. However, mediation will generally be much less costly than the litigation process and fees are typically shared by the parties.