Affordable Divorce Alternatives

Amicable out of Court Agreements with Legal Counsel

Divorce is ugly, expensive, and time-consuming. Everybody seems to view this as a universal truth. Many seek out mediation, collaborative law, or otherwise remain married for fear of the divorce process itself. The divorce process itself is not the problem. It is how people are conducting themselves within the divorce process that is causing most of the problems. With respect to mediation and collaborative law, most everyone has failed to take into consideration that they will dramatically add time and expenses to the divorce process itself. The only answer is truly to stay married, or to divorce using the legal system and a divorce lawyer. The right divorce lawyer will make sure the divorce goes through without “in court” arguments. For reasons that will be explained below, a Judge's signature will always be necessary to effectuate a divorce no matter how simple or agreeable. In fact, mediation agreements then have to be turned into divorces with additional paperwork; a court filing fee; and eventually… a Judge's signature. The only thing that can be made less painful and expensive would be the time people waste actually "arguing in Court".

Everybody wants their divorce to be amicable, out of Court, and affordable. Many individuals mistakenly pursue mediation. Mediation is not arbitration and no decisions are made, except for the decisions made by the parties themselves. Many people believe they will be able to come to a commonsense agreement with their spouse after many years of marriage. Often, this belief is misplaced because during a divorce there are many issues and emotions that will prevent the parties from amicably agreeing. Before entering into mediation know that the mediator should be aware of recent court decisions. If your mediator has not been actively practicing divorce law or keeping up with divorce law, you'll be doing yourself a great disservice. There are many great pitfalls and nuances in the divorce laws with respect to how assets are held and income is earned to the point that a divorce in the State of New York has become so complex that it would require the expertise of the divorce lawyer. A mediator can ask the parties to reach an agreement. However, when the parties reach an agreement, how do they know the agreement is in any way reasonable or reflective of the law? Has the mediator been reading recent Judges decisions; are they as knowledgeable as a lawyer in real estate law; Corporate law; Domestic Relations Law and The Family Court Act. Who wanted to go to mediation? Why do you think your saving money? In truth, you first mediate, at a higher hourly rate than Bryan L. Salamone and Associates PC (we are $345 an hour) and you have nobody on your side. With mediation, you are both in the same room and you can’t take the mediator outside of the room and ask them, “am I really getting a good deal?”

Divorcing out of Court is easy if the parties agree. It is easier than mediation. By serving a divorce (the initial filing papers can be as short as two pages) “the ball is in play”. There are restraining orders that are protecting both parties, and there is no Judge assigned to the case. At that time, the parties fill out financial disclosure forms and you do not give them to the Court. They exchange them between the lawyers, and the lawyers sit at a table and resolve the case based on the finances and the wishes of the parties. The two lawyers discuss the four elements of any divorce:

1. Grounds;

2. Custody;

3. Support

4. Equitable distribution.

It is during these out of Court settlement meetings we can take a client out of the meeting and speak to them privately; and we can advise them whether they are in fact, getting a good deal. We can advise them how to "tweak" the deal to make it more in their favor. We can aggressively negotiate directly in front of them to get them the maximum financial award and meet their goals with respect to custody; sole custody, and parenting time. The settlement conference costs a client the same as mediation in that it is $345 an hour. It is the same cost to conduct mediation. Our retainers are lower than most mediation retainers, and we are able to represent our clients. We are able to share with our clients our vast experience and the wealth of knowledge that we have gained as Long Island’s largest divorce law firm so that they can achieve a significant advantage over the opponent. Why mediate when you can have a lawyer at the same hourly rate working for you, and with you, to get the results you want?

Do you want a level playing field or would you like an advantage? Mediation may appear level and fair, but don't you want personal attention. Ask yourself, why do I feel I don't want an advantage in divorce? Ask yourself, am I really saving money by going to mediation or am I just saving my spouse money? Ask yourself, has my mediator ever been inside a courtroom? Would I benefit from the advice of a lawyer who has handled dozens if not hundreds or thousands of cases just like mine?

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