how to get a divorce in New York
If you and your spouse are in agreement on the fact that you both want to get a divorce with minimal pain, time and expense, Mediation should certainly be your preferred choice.
In the mediation process you will have total control over all the necessary decisions to be included in your Settlement Agreement, and those decisions will, of course, be tailored to your needs and those of your family. The mediator will not make any decisions for you or force any decision upon you.
This is how the process works:
Spouses meet together with the mediator who is there to help them have a conversation and work out all the different aspects that need to be included in their Settlement Agreement.
In these sessions which usually last 1 ½ to 2 hours, the issues to be worked out are typically:
- Where each party is going to live
- Division of assets (also called Equitable Distribution of Marital Property), which can include real estate, checking/savings accounts, cars, furniture, retirement accounts, debts…
- Spousal Support(formerly called Alimony)
- Child Support
- Legal Custody: how parents make decisions for their children
- Physical Custody and Parenting Agreements: where the children live, and how the parents will share weekdays, weekends, holidays and vacations with their children
- Decisions about Health Care, and Life Insurance Plans
- Decisions that pertain to your individual situation
Depending on the number of points that need to be worked out and their complexity, it takes about 3 to 6 sessions to get through everything. Sessions can be scheduled weekly or at greater intervals, dependent on what is most convenient for both of you and how quickly you want to complete the process. The mediator will help you go through all the different aspects of your agreement, raise questions to help you clarify certain points, answer your questions, and help you generate options and solutions.
There are times when a couple wants to start living apart before everything is finalized. In this case, an interim agreement may be worked out describing how expenses will be met during that period. Additionally, in the case of families with children, the agreement will include a schedule outlining when each parent will spend time with their children. Some of these decisions may or may not be incorporated into the final agreement.
All the decisions made by both of you will be included in your Settlement Agreement, also called Separation Agreement.
At times, during the mediation process, some people may have consultations with an attorney, and/or a financial professional. Many mediators will recommend that the parties have separate attorneys review the final agreement before it is signed.
Based on the fact that New York State is now a No-Fault Divorce state, once all your financial and custody decisions have been agreed upon, and one of the parties states under oath that they have been apart for at least six months, a lawyer can, with your settlement agreement, file for your divorce in the courts. Depending on backlogs in the court schedules, this last part of the process could take two to six months.
Alternatively, if you are not ready to get a divorce within the time frame described above and you wish to wait longer before obtaining your divorce, you would have all your decisions included in a Legal Separation Agreement that you would both sign. When you are ready to move on to that next step, the lawyer would file for your divorce.
Mediation keeps the terms of your divorce confidential and private, within the confines of the room you are working in. Information about your personal life and financial situation is not released to anyone. In a litigated divorce, your personal information can be distributed.
If you have any questions or concerns about Mediation,
or would like to schedule a no fee mediation consultation,
please don’t hesitate to contact me today!
divorce and family mediator
Divorce & Family Mediation, Upper East Side of Manhattan, NYC, New York, NY