What Are The Benefits Are Of Using Mediation To Resolve Marital Dissolution Issues Versus Hiring Attorneys And Going Through The Court Process And Litigating And All That Hot Mess?
The only time that the court system should be necessary is if custody is genuinely an issue and must be determined by a judge. If that is your situation, you have no choice but to litigate the case. It will cost a lot of money and require getting all kinds of professional experts involved to convince a judge where these children should live. If you are parents and you can’t choose as to where your children should live and how you should share the parenting of those children, then you deserve what you’re going to get through the litigation process. I don’t want to sound cynical with that, but it’s true.
Sometimes, economic issues do require a judge’s decision, but it’s usually just the calculator component because the law is pretty straightforward. I have experienced several cases where even though the law is crystal clear, the other lawyer (or the other spouse), refuses to accept reality, and pushes the envelope. In that instance, a Court is needed. Sometimes people just need to hear it from the judge.
Four things that are not considered marital property in New York State are:
- things you bring into the marriage with you from outside of the marriage;
- things that are inherited from people who died;
- personal injury awards;
- gifts from third parties.
There are slight nuances that might complicate some of that. If you put inheritance money into a joint account, or there was marital money earned that was put into a separate account, it sometimes confuses the issues. Couples that are seen as rational and fair can look at the law and get an answer from a lawyer, usually in 20 minutes or less, and then make decisions independently. Mediation takes that concept and expands it. A trained mediator educates the couple about what the law is and gives examples of how it can settle the dispute.
If you think about it, every divorce or legal separation is only about two issues: children and money. Money can only be categorized and distributed in a finite amount of ways. It’s either separate property or marital property. If it’s separate property, then it’s a question of has it touched any of the exceptions, and if it hasn’t, then it remains separate. A good mediator who is skilled and experienced will be able to educate the couple and guide them toward making an informed, intelligent decision as to what to do. It’s much more manageable with the money than it is with the children, but the emotional turmoil of splitting up a family is just absolutely devastating when there are young children involved.
If you can avoid litigation, do so, and try mediation before lawyering up. If mediation doesn’t work the first time with the first mediator, ask around, see if you can find another mediator, and see if you can get the case resolved that way.
When It Comes To The High Net Worth Or High Asset Divorce Cases in Suffolk County, There Will Likely Be More Complex Issues Than The Lower Middle-Class Divorces. What Obvious Benefits Are There To Bringing On The Mediator In These Types Of Cases Versus What Are You Putting At Risk By Litigating?
Lawyers in Suffolk County almost always charge more than $400 an hour. Some of them now are up to nearly $600 an hour, and some are even higher. So in a high-net-worth couple, you’re going to have more money typically saved than in a middle class or certainly a lower-class couple. In my opinion and experience, spending hundreds of thousands on litigation is just silly because there is nothing that cannot be worked out. If you could only accurately predict the judge’s decision, there would never be the need to litigate. Most experienced attorneys can give you an accurate assessment of the success or failure of any given issue. It makes much more sense to save the money that would have been spent on litigation, and avoid it at all costs. Factoring in the cost of litigation both in dollars and the currency of relationships, the choice is clear.
You also must to examine the law, how it applies to my case, and if I knew the answer before I started the litigation, why would I spend all of that money? It’s not only an issue of money, but you’re going to alienate the other spouse, poison the children, and bring in major emotional distress. If you can understand that the marriage is over, let’s give it the respect it deserves. Let’s go to a neutral, trained, experienced mediator who will guide us to get to the answer and find out what that X factor is and what the judge would likely say given any specific issue.
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