Options for Divorce
If you and your spouse no longer wish to be married, but you are not interested in the usual litigation, you have options for divorce. They often can save you money and time as well as some pain and hardship.
Options for Divorce | Mediation
You might think of mediation as forward-looking and solution-setting, and litigation as backwards-looking and blame-laying. Mediation may be a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to litigation. It’s a way to bypass the formality, expense, and uncertain outcome of a trial, and can encourage amicability and cooperation – the parties have more control over their outcome, including the division of assets, child custody, child support, and alimony.
After the mediation, your mediator will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This is not a legally binding document – it is only a summary of the issues you discussed and the agreements that you reached. Each party will bring this memorandum to his or her respective attorneys who will then draw up a legally binding document based on those terms, assuming there are no major objections.
Options for Divorce | Legal Separation
Couples who find it impossible to live in the same household but have an interest in maintaining their married status can file for legal separation. A separation agreement is a contract between spouses settling the same issues a divorce would cover: separate living arrangements, the division of assets, alimony, child custody, and child support. The difference is that the separation agreement avoids a court judgment, and it doesn’t end the marriage. After signing a separation agreement, the spouses remain married and cannot legally remarry. There are also consequences worth considering before filing taxes as “married but separate.”
There are several reasons to consider legal separation as an alternative to divorce. Legal separation:
- Provides spouses with time apart, to decide whether divorce is appropriate.
- Allows spouses to remain covered under family health plans.
- Provides a remedy to marital discord for people whose religious views reject divorce.
- May permit military spouses to remain married long enough to qualify for benefits under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act.
- May allow spouses to remain married for the 10 years or more necessary to qualify for certain Social Security benefits.
- Allows a spouse to file for New York no-fault divorce after a year of separation.
Are you looking for a knowledgeable Saratoga divorce lawyer to take on your case? Please call our office today to set up a consultation.