When considering divorce clients are usually familiar with going to court
and fighting. But that is not the only way to get a divorce! More and
more clients are learning about and wanting a peaceful alternative.
These days during consultations, clients ask more about the difference
between “litigation” and “mediation.” Believe
it or not, there are those spouses who only want to fight. But for those
open to a non-adversarial option there is a more positive and peaceful
solution – it’s mediation.
Both paths—litigation and mediation—are an option, but the
process and the outcome can be very different.
Under the traditional system, originally imported from England, couples
went to court to obtain a divorce.
Each spouse hires his or her own "advocate," and they engage
in what is normally an adversarial process. The steps can include negotiation
between the attorneys. If or when this is not working, there is always
the threat of
"going to court," where a judge will make decisions about all
the issues, including custody and visitation, child support, spousal support,
and the division of property.
The court process is particularly daunting. It includes serving a summons
and complaint, an answer, and exchanging financial information and documents.
This exchange is called "discovery," and it is, in fact, a way to find
out the facts about the parties' finances. It can include subpoenas
served on banks, businesses and third parties. There may also be applications
made to the court (motions) for various types of relief, such as temporary
child and spousal support,
interim custody, and counsel fees.
Once you get locked into the system, it is extremely hard to find your
way out. It is expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. Ultimately,
it may be the only vehicle for warring couples of a certain ilk. In some
cases, I call this the vehicle used to “punish.” This path
is often attractive to spouses who want revenge, enjoy conflict, and seek
to maintain control over the other spouse.
This path to divorce involves working with an unbiased mediator, usually
a lawyer, whose function is to assist a couple in a peaceful process,
to make decisions together, and arrive at an agreement that is fair to
both. For people who have never experienced it, mediation is surprisingly
and stunningly effective. It is quick, inexpensive, and nonadversarial.
It is a three-part process, consisting of the negotiations, the preparation
of an agreement, and preparation and submission of the divorce documents
to a judge for signature.
In the last decade, mediation has become the popular choice of many divorcing
couples. In fact, during the pandemic, while the courts have been closed,
couples have been embracing mediation. It’s less expensive, not
as time consuming and much less stressful!
I have guided many spouses on how to safely discuss divorce with their
partner, and the best way to introduce mediation as a positive alternative
to going to court.
If you are thinking of divorcing and would like to discuss litigation vs.
mediation, call me. We can discuss the details of your marriage and select
the best path for you.
For those of you not quite ready for divorce there are other options, like
a separation or postnuptial agreement. We can explore these options as well!
Call me today and I will answer all your questions! My consultations, which
are free, are informative and comprehensive.
FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are
conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.
I look forward to helping you.
Stay healthy and safe!
When it comes to your future and that of your family, learn more about
all your divorce options!
Call New York Divorce Lawyer Lois Brenner, Esq. to schedule your free consultation