Home Blog

Understanding The Types of Divorce: Contested, Uncontested, and Collaborative

Understanding the different types of divorce will empower you to make the best decision for your situation. A surprise to many, the type of divorce you choose can lead to dramatically different outcomes, as each type involves distinct procedures, advantages, and disadvantages.  

Below, we explore the key differences between contested, uncontested, and collaborative divorce scenarios. By approaching your divorce situation with a better understanding of your options, you stand to save time and money and are more likely to achieve an amicable outcome that honors your hopes and needs. 

Contested Divorce: When One or Both Parties Disagree on Key Issues

A contested divorce occurs when spouses are unwilling to agree on key subjects, such as child custody, child support, or property division. A contested divorce can also arise if initial attempts at seeking compromise through divorce mediation or third-party negotiations fail. In addition to an unwillingness for spouses to compromise, other situations, such as power imbalances or a history of spousal abuse, can necessitate a contested divorce scenario that requires separate legal counsel and court hearings to reach a fair divorce agreement. 

Many contested divorce scenarios include: 

  • Adversarial legal processes: If attempts at negotiation or mediation fail, each spouse may choose to hire a private attorney to build a case against their spouse. If the divorce proceeds to trial, the final details of the divorce agreement will be determined by the judge. 
  • Increased expenses: A contested divorce is generally the most expensive divorce option due to ongoing lawyer fees, court costs, and other unforeseen expenses that arise since disputed cases can last for months or years.  
  • Added stress and emotional turbulence: As you can imagine, a drawn-out court dispute is often an exhausting experience that leads to anger, bitterness, sadness, and other distressing emotions that can have lasting consequences on family wellbeing. 

Uncontested Divorce: When Both Parties Agree on the Majority of Key Issues

If both parties are willing to agree to each other’s terms, an uncontested divorce can proceed with straightforward legal negotiations outside of court. An uncontested divorce circumvents the need for a trial, which generally results in faster divorce approval, fewer expenses, and reduced emotional turmoil. 

Even if a couple agrees to each other’s terms, an uncontested divorce may still involve higher-than-anticipated legal expenses. For example, since each spouse may choose to hire a private attorney to review the divorce petition, arrange documents, and assist with court submissions, an uncontested divorce using private legal counsel may be less expensive than a contested divorce, but it can still cost significantly more than the collaborative divorce process outlined below. 

Collaborative Divorce: The Best Option for Amicable Divorce Outcomes

This is similar to an uncontested divorce where both parties agree to each other’s terms, but the entire divorce process is managed through collaborative divorce mediation sessions. How is this better than seeking an uncontested divorce with separate lawyers? 

A neutral divorce mediator costs significantly less, expedites the entire submission process, and can help you navigate all necessary divorce topics with clarity. With a focus on the facts of your situation, our goal is to guide the discussions in a fair, legal, and equitable way that promotes mutually beneficial outcomes for everyone involved. 

Best of all, by consolidating all of the divorce steps through divorce mediation, there is no need to hire individual attorneys. Our legal experts streamline the entire document-creation process, walk you through all legal requirements, and submit the finalized divorce agreement to the court on your behalf. 

By choosing to manage your divorce collaboratively with our divorce mediators at Long Island Divorce Mediation, several benefits emerge, such as: 

  • Thousands in potential legal savings
  • Significantly faster divorce approval timelines
  • Reduced emotional stress and frustration
  • Preservation of family well-being following the divorce

Not sure which divorce option is best for your situation? Our experienced legal professionals are happy to assist with no-obligation education and recommendations. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Tips For Navigating Life Post-Divorce

Adapting to the life-altering changes that accompany divorce is no small feat. For many, the ending of a marriage closely resembles the grieving process, as losing stability, familiarity, and connection with a spouse can be a catastrophic personal experience. Even for those who feel a sense of relief or happiness for the post-divorce changes, navigating the adjustment period still involves growing pains and stressors while transitioning into the next chapter of life.

Finding Emotional Balance & Facilitating the Healing Process

Acknowledging and addressing emotional needs during the early post-divorce stages lays the foundation for healing and confident steps forward. By processing complex emotions such as sadness, anger, and relief as soon as possible, you lay the groundwork for clearer and more effective decision-making as the post-divorce changes unfold. 

Of course, resolving complex emotions isn’t always simple. If you find that deeply distressing post-divorce concerns have completely overturned your equilibrium, it may be beneficial to consider the following: 

  • Professional counseling to help you navigate grief, anger, and other post-divorce emotions with step-by-step resolutions
  • Starting a new hobby, engaging in community outreach, or joining a support group for singles can help to promote recovery
  • Reaching out to friends and family members who can help you unpack the issues, provide compassionate support, and lend a hand if you need help at home
  • Take action for your health and mental wellness; harness negative energy and turn it into fuel for positive change. Consider joining a new gym, organizing a jogging or cycling exercise plan with your friends, or start cooking healthier meals now that you are free to prepare whatever you feel like! 

Address Practical Matters With an Organized Plan

Trying to manage the plethora of housing, financial, routine, and childcare changes that follow divorce can quickly snowball into an overwhelming experience if attempting to resolve too many issues at once. 

To keep the stress levels at a minimum, it can be helpful to create a list of priority matters that need to be handled. This list might include finding a new health insurance plan, coordinating a new schedule with your babysitter, or contacting utility companies and service providers to inform them of your new address or payment information. Other matters that may need to be addressed include: 

  • Closing joint accounts
  • Removing payment options from shared services
  • Restructuring investments and financial plans
  • Creating a new budget
  • Modifying your lease agreement or refinancing your home if you share a mortgage 
  • Adjusting your work schedule or finding a new job
  • Finding child care 

After organizing a detailed list, take care of the priority topics one item at a time, such as finding a new bank account or a friend who can help with child transportation occasionally. If these are topics your spouse has always handled, it may be a good idea to partner with a trusted financial advisor, friend, or family member who can help you organize and manage each item on your list. 

Simplify Your Post-Divorce Experience With Divorce Mediation

To avoid a myriad of post-divorce challenges, divorce mediation promotes a smoother transition in several ways. Rather than arguing over custody, finances, and who gets what in court, our divorce mediation team collaborates with you and your spouse to organize a plan that revolves around mutual understanding and respect for each other’s needs and wishes. 

Instead of reacting to the judge’s court ruling after the fact, divorce mediation also empowers couples with complete control over the divorce outcome. Before the divorce is finalized, you will know exactly how asset division, child custody, and other relevant details will be handled, allowing you to proactively prepare for the changes to come. The result is an amicable outcome, financial savings, and a clearer plan of action as you transition into your new life.

The Importance Of Collaborative Divorce Mediation

Choosing to work as a team during the divorce process requires courage, compromise, and a willingness to face emotional turbulence with a solution-oriented mindset. If you and your partner are willing to discuss the terms of your divorce with the guidance of a neutral mediator, numerous benefits emerge. 

Wondering how divorce mediation can make a positive difference? All phases of the legal separation or divorce can be managed without the need for separate lawyers or court appearances. Instead of building a case against your spouse and fighting over finances, child custody, and property rights in court, we navigate these important details with unbiased guidance to help you draft a divorce agreement that works best for everyone involved. 

Best of all, divorce mediation is 100% legal, and with our support, the entire process is expedited for court approval and relationship closure in significantly less time. We help you draft all required paperwork, manage all documentation submissions, and handle all of the follow-up correspondence with the courts on your behalf. In other words, you can avoid astronomical legal fees, skip months or years in court, and retain complete control over the outcomes.

Below, we explore a few of these benefits and why choosing divorce mediation is the best decision for most divorce situations. 

Preserve Your Precious Finances With Divorce Mediation

With traditional court litigation processes, you can expect to spend thousands on case preparation, court fees, and other snowballing lawyer costs. And, even with this significant cost increase, you still might lose the case. Why risk your hard-earned cash on a drawn-out court battle if you can avoid this stressful exchange entirely? 

As long as you and your spouse are willing to discuss the terms of your divorce settlement, financial preservation is our specialty. Our affordable services are completed in a few organized sessions, resulting in a fair plan and a foundation of financial stability for the next chapter of life. 

Reduce Emotional Stress & Support a Healthier Family Dynamic

Another key benefit of divorce mediation is family preservation. While you may not want to maintain contact or communication with your spouse following the divorce, working together to create a fair divorce agreement can alleviate turmoil, reduce stress, and help establish a stable foundation for your new life.

This is especially important if children are involved. Demonstrating to your children that problems can be solved with honest communication can pave the way to emotional recovery and a healthier family dynamic moving forward. 

Simplicity Defines Divorce Mediation; All Details Are Organized Under One Roof

Time is our most precious resource, and divorce mediation saves you a ton of it. Our divorce mediators specialize in NY divorce law, ensuring that all aspects of your case are properly and promptly prepared for a streamlined process that is underscored by legal compliance and efficiency.

From the beginning, we simplify the details by teaching you exactly which documents and information you need to gather. From bank statements and property information to factual guidance about legal obligations such as alimony or child support requirements, we clarify every detail so you can make the best decisions for you and your family. 

After gathering all required information and organizing the discussed details, we develop an itemized draft that covers all topics in their entirety. If both parties agree to the terms, we sign the paperwork and submit it to the courts for approval. Once the judge has approved your agreement (it can take weeks or months depending on the court), the legal divorce process is complete. 

This is only a glimpse of the many ways our unbiased divorce mediation services can improve your outcomes. To learn more, get in touch and discover the many ways we can help. 

 

Benefits of Choosing Divorce Mediation Over Litigation

Did you know that you do not need to hire separate lawyers and fight it out in court? Divorce mediation often costs less, takes less time, and results in settlement outcomes that honor the needs and wishes of all parties involved. 

So, why is this seemingly better alternative rarely mentioned or advertised? Lawyers and legal services can charge significantly more for traditional divorce litigation. Traditional litigation involves extensive case preparation, court fees, and ongoing legal support that can quickly snowball into the tens of thousands or more. 

Despite the common misconception that traditional litigation is the only option available, you have options. One of the best alternatives, compromise-focused divorce mediation is managed in a few collaborative sessions without the need to step foot inside a courtroom. With the help of our neutral, third-party mediator, you and your spouse work together to draft a 100% legal divorce agreement that addresses topics such as the division of assets, child custody, and all other pertinent details. 

Once both parties agree to the details of the settlement, our divorce mediator handles all paperwork submission to the courts for documentation approval. Instead of spending months or years in court, the entire divorce process is streamlined, with average time frames ranging from a few weeks for simple cases to a few months if the details are more complex. 

With this overview in mind, what other reasons should you consider divorce mediation over litigation? Take a look at these common benefits and gain the knowledge you need to make an informed decision that’s best for you and your family. 

Retain Control Over Divorce Outcomes With Mediation 

Since the settlement details are agreed upon outside of court, both parties are often more satisfied with the outcomes and are more likely to comply with the agreement. Unlike traditional litigation processes which are generally combative and can lead to unfavorable or surprising judge verdicts. Instead of leaving the decisions about financial stability, family dynamics, and other quality-of-life outcomes up to an outsider’s judgment, choose mediation instead and retain control throughout the entire process. 

Reduce Emotional Stress & Family Strain

Fighting rarely leads to healthier emotional outcomes and restored family dynamics. Even if you and your spouse do not agree on every detail and the mediation process may be uncomfortable, a willingness to confront your partner and discuss fair terms can prevent a range of negative consequences that often accompany traditional litigation. 

By taking action to face divorce decisions in a calm and constructive atmosphere, rather than going through separate lawyers, we can help you steer the discussions in a fact-based and solution-oriented manner that respects the needs and preferences of everyone involved. Ultimately, our goal is to facilitate a balanced agreement that leads to mutually beneficial fairness, an improved quality of life, and a healthier emotional dynamic for your family. 

Begin the Next Chapter of Your Life on Stable Ground

Since divorce mediation costs less, takes less time, and commonly leads to better post-divorce outcomes, you are empowered to move past the turbulence of the divorce process. Instead of lingering in the tense courtrooms and uncertainty of the future with drawn-out litigation, divorce mediation allows you to begin the healing process sooner rather than later. 

We specialize in expedited and organized mediation that paves the way to freedom from the stressors, costs, and time-consuming processes of traditional divorce. Instead of disrupting your financial stability or adding fuel to the fire of emotional turmoil, we hope to provide a beacon of clarity and empower your next steps with actionable insights and a straightforward plan of action. 

Our 100% legal mediation services are applicable for both divorce and separation situations. To learn more about our comprehensive support and unbiased guidance, our consultations and insights are obligation-free. Get in touch with our experts at Long Island Divorce and we’ll walk you through our step-by-step divorce mediation process today.

Prioritizing Your Child’s Well-Being During A Divorce

Amidst the emotional turmoil and stressful changes that accompany divorce, it’s easy to lose sight of the needs of those around us. It’s only natural that we become defensive and focus on ourselves when challenging moments in life arise. While it’s crucial that we take conscious action to care for ourselves amidst the turbulence, it’s also imperative that your children’s well-being remains a priority before, during, and after the divorce is finalized. 

Divorce is emotionally draining for everyone, but unlike the coping strategies and emotional fortitude you have developed over a lifetime, your children may not have acquired these skills yet. The dramatic changes of divorce have traumatic potential, and the way you approach the changes should be handled with the utmost care. While it may not be easy to discuss the changes to come, proactively addressing these sensitive subjects with compassion and clarity can significantly reduce long-term emotional and relationship issues. 

So, what can you do to encourage a smoother transition, dissolve confusion, and reduce fears associated with the family changes to come? Take a few moments to consider these helpful ideas and develop your own plan to promote peace, transparency, and a healthier family dynamic moving forward. 

Create a Plan Before Sharing Details

Suppose you children are not aware of the pending divorce or separation. In that case, it can be beneficial to organize a list of reasons why you are separating and determine a co-parenting and living arrangement plan before including your children in the process. Of course, this is only a viable option if your children have not been exposed to your divorce discussions (or arguments) or are too young to understand what is happening. Why is this important? By ironing out the details before telling them about the changes, the hard-to-hear news can be met with reassurances about their routine, their living situation, and the fact that their loving relationship with both parents is not coming to an end. 

To create a plan that is consistent with your ideal outcome, divorce mediation can be a great first step in organizing a coherent co-parenting plan. Unlike traditional divorce proceedings which the courts determine, our neutral mediation sessions empower couples to create a mutually-beneficial plan that they can both agree with. Instead of fighting over custody rights or who will pay the childcare bills, we help you create a detailed plan that promotes amicable compromise and the well-being of you and your children.

Discuss the Changes & Encourage Honest Expression

After you have a clear plan in place, including your children in the process will allow you to answer questions, address concerns, and provide consistent reassurance throughout the process. While it may be tempting to downplay or ignore the facts until the changes take place, abrupt and confusing changes are more likely to cause lasting damage. 

While discussing the changes to come, do your best to: 

  • Reassure your children that they are not to blame while demonstrating unconditional love and empathy for any feelings they express
  • Adhere to your household routine as much as possible to establish a sense of stability in this time of uncertainty
  • Be honest about the changes to come and discuss why you and your spouse are seeking a divorce if age-appropriate 
  • Teach your kids healthy coping strategies and consider professional help; depending on your children’s needs, options such as mental health counseling and encouraging healthy hobbies may help to ease the stress or uncertainty

Continue to Promote Stability, Love, & Practice Self-Care

While it may be a challenge to manage your peace and sanity during divorce, maintaining a hopeful demeanor and demonstrating to your children that everything will be okay can shed a positive light on the entire experience. 

However complex the emotions or dramatic the changes may be, our unbiased divorce mediators are here to help you navigate the uncertainty with affordable and informative guidance. 

Financial Considerations in Divorce Mediation

In the midst of the emotional rollercoaster that often accompanies divorce, navigating the path to fair financial division can quickly become a point of contention. In an effort to minimize potential hurdles and facilitate a mutually beneficial financial split, there are several ways that divorce mediation can alleviate the stress and uncertainty surrounding asset division and divorce. 

Before delving into the specific financial considerations we address, it’s important to understand how divorce mediation differs from traditional divorce litigation.

In the majority of traditional divorce litigation cases, each individual works with a private attorney to build a case against their spouse. As a result, this traditional litigation process often leads to prolonged conflict, escalating legal expenses, and additional emotional distress. Additionally, the final divorce outcomes can vary dramatically. Ultimately, the judge overseeing your cases will have the final say, leading to uncertainty and potentially undesirable divorce outcomes.

Alternatively, with the guidance of a neutral divorce mediator, couples collaborate to organize a mutually agreeable divorce settlement. As a result, divorce mediation is a better option for most situations because: 

  • Couples have greater control over the outcomes
  • Divorce mediation results in faster resolutions
  • Couples can expect to save thousands of dollars
  • Divorce mediation reduces stress and emotional turmoil 
  • Couples do not need to visit the courts or hire private attorneys

As long as you and your spouse are able and willing to discuss and agree to each other’s terms, divorce mediation becomes the obvious choice. If you and your spouse are considering divorce mediation, our supportive divorce mediators will help you navigate every detail in depth. Here are some of the financial topics we address during the collaborative mediation sessions. 

Organized Asset Division

We help our clients identify and organize all related financials to establish a transparent basis for equitable financial separation. For instance, we will help you determine which assets are shared marital assets and which assets are private property. Examples of shared assets might include real estate, retirement accounts, and shared vehicles. 

After identifying which assets are on the table for division, we will guide you through the discussions to help you arrange a fair split. During these discussions, we may address topics such as child support, alimony requirements, and other essential financial subjects to ensure that your financial agreement is both legal and acceptable for everyone involved. 

Consideration for Ongoing Expenses

In many mediation cases, future financial planning is an integral aspect of the process. When determining a fair financial outcome that will meet the needs of everyone involved, it’s essential to consider details such as each individual’s earning potential, personal health, and other factors that influence future financial stability. For example, if you or your spouse do not have a steady income, it may be necessary to receive or provide additional financial support following the divorce. Similar considerations may be necessary for post-divorce changes such as housing payments or childcare expenses. 

Of course, these variables and the amount of spousal/child support provided is highly dependent on your family’s unique situation. Since there are many considerations and hard-to-anticipate financial needs, our constructive mediators work to simplify the process while guiding you towards amicable and fact-based decisions that promote financial stability for everyone involved. 

Education & Documentation Submission

We empower our clients with the facts and resources they need to make informed and confident financial decisions regarding their divorce. It’s important that you understand exactly what you are agreeing to; our clarifying guidance takes the guesswork out of the process. 

After you and your spouse have signed the agreement, we manage all submission details on your behalf. We handle all court correspondence and provide constant updates regarding the approval process. Once the judge signs off on the divorce agreement, your divorce will be legally binding.

To learn more about our unbiased and affordable guidance, get in touch with our experts and simplify every step of the process today. 

 

How Mediation Can Speed Up the Process and Avoid Court

In the midst of a stressful and emotionally charged divorce, it is rarely beneficial to prolong the process. Unlike the lengthy and costly proceedings that come with your traditional litigation battle, we prefer the expedited and less expensive route. 

To many couples’ surprise, there are many options when approaching divorce or legal separation. If you and your partner are willing to discuss and agree to the terms of your divorce, you do not need to hire separate attorneys or spend months in court! Instead of spending thousands on private lawyers, building cases against each other, and fighting over assets and custody rights, all elements of divorce/legal separation can be streamlined through divorce mediation. 

How Divorce Mediation Works

Through a neutral third-party process, also known as divorce mediation, you, your spouse, and our unbiased mediator work together to create a fair divorce or separation agreement. 

Your time is precious, and our organized guidance helps you get to the facts of your situation and develop a plan that works for both of you in less time. In fact, the average divorce mediation process can be completed in weeks, with only a few in-person sessions required before documentation is finalized. Why spend months in court and waste thousands of dollars on avoidable legal expenses when you can complete the entire process in a few collaborative sessions instead? 

First, we walk you through the details and have you sign a mediation agreement to acknowledge your understanding of the process. After the initial consultation and signing, we help you gather all necessary documentation and relevant disclosure information (such as proof of shared assets) required to complete the process. 

After ironing out the details of each relevant topic, we draft the legal agreement, encourage you to review the information, and submit the signed documentation to the courts on your behalf. Before any information is signed or finalized, you have the right to review the information with a private attorney if you are uncertain about any of the details. 

Why Choose Divorce Mediation Over Traditional Divorce Processes? 

By choosing our experienced mediators over traditional court litigation, you can build a divorce agreement that is rooted in fair compromise, not the unpredictable outcomes that can arise from litigation and court-ordered decisions. 

Divorce mediation is a completely legal option, and is perhaps the best way to retain control of the divorce outcome. In addition to retaining greater control over the situation, our mediation process is structured to be efficient and affordable. With Long Island Divorce simplifying your divorce or legal separation, you can expect to:

  • Save time
  • Spend significantly less
  • Minimize stress
  • Arrive at a fair agreement that is better for everyone involved

The only caveat is the ability or willingness of both of you to agree to the mediation process. For example, if abuse, disagreement, or another personal issue obstructs the path to mediation, traditional court processes or arbitration may be your best option. 

As long as you and your spouse are willing to discuss and agree to each other’s terms, you will never need to step foot inside a courtroom. After organizing and finalizing the agreement, our team handles every submission detail on your behalf. Once the court approves the agreement, your divorce or legal separation is complete. 

Have questions about our processes or want to learn more about the benefits of divorce mediation? Our informative consultations are 100% free and discreet. 

 

How A House & Mortgage Is Addressed During A Divorce

Among the most valuable and difficult-to-divide assets, understanding how housing and mortgage is addressed during divorce will help you plan for a fair split. Unlike other shared financial assets that can easily be divided down the middle, housing, and mortgage division often comes with additional baggage such as appraisals, refinancing, and other factors that may require compromise and careful consideration. 

So, how is this important financial topic addressed during divorce? In the state of New York, couples have a few options when approaching the division process. If a prenuptial agreement determining asset division was not established before marriage, couples can choose to:

  • Draft an asset-division agreement outside of court: Through neutral mediation, it’s possible to create a legal and amicable division settlement without stepping foot inside the courtroom.
  • Pursue litigation: If couples are unwilling or unable to discuss the terms of their financial agreement outside of court, a judge will have the final say based on equitable distribution in the state of New York. This may involve legal hearings, presentation of evidence, and relevant arguments from both sides. 
  • Seek alternative dispute resolution: While less common, both sides can present their terms to a third-party arbitrator who makes a legally binding decision and submits the documentation to the courts for approval. 

What Happens During Divorce Mediation Negotiations?

If a couple is willing to discuss and agree to each other’s financial terms outside of the courtroom, divorce mediation is the best option. With the guidance of a neutral legal advisor to ensure compliance with all legal obligations, all relevant financial subjects are organized and divided as fairly as possible. After both parties sign off on the terms of the agreement, the documentation is submitted to the courts for final approval. 

While determining fair division of assets, an experienced divorce mediator will help you: 

  • Understand your rights, obligations, and how the mediation process works
  • Gather and organize all necessary financial documentation to accurately divide assets and determine which legal financial requirements you must comply with, such as alimony and child support if applicable to your situation
  • Guide the discussion in an equanimous manner to help you and your spouse reach an amicable and fair agreement that supports everyone’s needs
  • Draft a legally binding agreement and ensure that you both agree to the terms before signing and submitting documentation to the courts

Choosing the Right Option for Your Divorce

Of course, your housing and mortgage division will be included in the financial discussion and final agreement. If your home or mortgage is considered marital property (you acquired the home or loan after getting married), there are many ways the final division can go. For example, if you have children together, it may be best to retain the home. In this case, one spouse member may choose to refinance the home in their name and/or buy the remaining shares of the home from the other spouse. Alternatively, for some couples, it is best to sell the home, divide the liquid assets, and find new living arrangements. 

While divorce mediation is a more viable option for many couples, not all couples can approach their divorce through mediation. If traditional litigation is the route you choose, equitable distribution guides the court’s approach to asset division. It’s important to note, that equitable distribution does not necessarily mean an equal split. The court aims to achieve a fair distribution based on a variety of relevant factors like income, length of marriage, physical/mental health, child responsibilities, and many other considerations that influence the final division decision.

As you can see, many complex factors affect the decision that is best for your situation. If you’re hoping for an outcome that is fair and agreeable for everyone involved, contact our pros at Long Island Divorce Mediation and avoid an unpredictable courtroom verdict with our simple process.

 

Cost Of Legal Separation Vs Divorce & How You Can Save Money With Mediation

Understanding the costs, considerations, and options for legal separation versus divorce can pave the way to an amicable split and financial stability after the dust has settled. In this helpful overview, we discuss legal separation and divorce, common price considerations, and how divorce mediation can significantly reduce the costs associated with both. 

Legal Separation Vs Divorce 

When a couple chooses to legally separate, official marriage ties remain intact, but they may live separately, divide certain assets, make joint legal decisions, and cannot remarry. Legal separation can be a viable option if a couple would like to try a life apart, retain financial benefits like shared health insurance, or receive certain tax or social security perks that come with official marriage ties. Since legal separation maintains the marital ties, no formal remarriage is required if the couple wishes to reconcile in the future. 

Alternatively, divorce legally terminates the marriage. Unlike legal separation where certain assets, benefits, and legal obligations remain shared, there is a clearer division of assets, custody arrangements, shared benefits, and legal responsibility following divorce. When a couple would like to cut all ties and establish a permanent separation, divorce is the answer. 

Primary Cost Considerations

Regardless of the path taken to acquire a legal separation or divorce, there are several unavoidable and variable costs to consider related to the legal process and the cost of living separate lives. 

Legal fees: In general, the more complicated your legal separation or divorce is, the more guidance you will need to achieve an agreeable split. Relevant legal fees can include attorney fees, mediator fees, and filing fees. All of these costs can vary significantly, with divorce mediation being the most affordable route to finalize a legal separation or divorce.

Division of finances: Depending on the terms of your legal separation or divorce, how assets, alimony, and child support costs are divided is the primary factor in determining true costs. For example, if you will be required to purchase your health insurance plan following divorce, this additional expense must be factored into your new budget. Alternatively, if you choose the legal separation path, you can still access your spouse’s health insurance benefits, thus spending less as a result. 

When considering the true costs of your legal separation or divorce, it is imperative to consider all related elements. When determining how your financial situation will shift, be sure to include adjusted housing, transportation, food, savings, childcare expenses, utilities, and any other relevant costs you can think of when preparing for your new life. 

Unexpected costs: To many couples’ surprise, there are other hidden fees associated with a legal separation and divorce. Common examples of unexpected costs can be appraisal costs to determine your shared home value, new childcare expenses, or costs associated with finding a new job if your spouse was the sole source of income.

Divorce Mediation Saves Time, Money, & Stress

If you and your spouse can agree to discuss the terms of your legal separation or divorce through mediation, you can expect to save thousands of dollars and countless hours. Instead of hiring private attorneys and building cases against each other, we provide a neutral environment where we pursue compromise and amicable agreements for a fraction of the cost. 

With our supportive guidance, we help you navigate the facts of your situation, ensure that all legal requirements are satisfied, and manage all documentation on your behalf. While helping you organize a constructive plan, our unbiased atmosphere simultaneously reduces the tension, frustration, and exhaustion that comes with drawn-out litigation. Instead of months in court, contact our divorce mediation team and learn how we can help you complete the entire process in a few productive sessions. 

Gifts, Inheritance, & Income: How It is Handled In A Divorce

Among the most daunting and important divorce topics to address, taking a few moments to learn how gifts, inheritance, and income are handled in a divorce will prepare you for asset division understanding and success. 

In the state of New York, equitable division of marital assets and property is the guiding principle. In most situations, any income or property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and is subject to equal division. Alternatively, any assets acquired before the marriage (or after the divorce filing process has started) are typically considered separate property. Separate property also includes accident settlements. 

In the case of gifts and inheritance, these assets are usually categorized as separate property. As long as the gifted or inherited assets remain separate from marital property, the original recipient of that gift would retain the entire sum. But, if that gift or inheritance money was deposited into a shared bank or retirement account, this commingling could then be classified as marital property that is now subject to equitable division. 

It’s important to note that these are only standard guidelines, and many other considerations may be factored into the equation when determining fair division of assets. Here are some other key considerations to be aware of as you navigate the asset division process. 

Pre & Postnuptial Considerations

If you and your spouse drafted nuptial agreements determining financial division, marital property, and separate property will be defined by these legally-binding contracts. If your contract deviates from the equitable division principles in NY, such as all inheritance will be considered marital property, your prearranged agreement will take precedence over any general state rules. 

Court Considerations

If you and your spouse are in disagreement about certain asset-division topics, the courts will weigh a variety of factors when considering a fair division. There’s no cut-and-dry answer because every financial situation is unique, but in general, judges will consider several factors when determining fair division, such as: 

  • Length of marriage
  • Age & health of each spouse
  • Child care responsibilities
  • Earning potential of each spouse
  • Spousal support (alimony)
  • Marital misconduct
  • Standards of living

As you can see, there are many circumstances that can influence the final asset division outcome. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to retain control throughout the asset division process, even if you and your spouse didn’t create a pre/post-nuptial agreement. 

Partner With a Divorce Mediator to Define Your Own Division Outcome

You can side-step the courtroom decision-making process by choosing to organize your division agreement through divorce mediation instead. As long as you and your spouse are willing to discuss, compromise, and agree to each other’s terms, all phases of asset and property division can be managed outside of the courts. 

Even though asset and property division laws still apply to your situation, you are not at the mercy of the judge or the outcome of your divorce litigation processes. Instead of hiring lawyers, fighting your spouse, and hoping you receive a fair share of the marital assets, working together to create a mutually beneficial financial split can save time, money, and stress. 

With our neutral mediator by your side, you gain factual insights into the legal requirements while simultaneously benefiting from unbiased guidance. We focus on the facts of the situation, doing our best to provide you and your spouse with the information you need and practical suggestions to arrive at a fair and appropriate agreement. 

As a team, we work towards a plan that will honor the needs and desires of all parties involved. While it may require courage and strength to approach your division in this communicative and direct way, doing so can transform an otherwise financially and emotionally draining legal situation into a constructive process that benefits both sides in the end. 

To learn more about our unbiased divorce mediation processes, contact our helpful experts at Long Island Divorce for a confidential consultation today. 

Call Now Button