Your divorce. Your terms. Your time frame.
Attorney Mediated Divorce:
Divorce is emotionally and financially stressful. The traditional method of a litigated divorce is a laborious and lengthy process, with numerous potential court appearances. A much simpler solution is to pursue divorce mediation. At Matrimonial Mediation Services of Buffalo, you will receive expert legal advice and direction from attorney mediators in a private, warm environment. Instead of leaving the terms of your divorce up to a judge, the decisions will be in your hands, with the help of our guidance and legal advice.
Once an agreement has been reached, we will draft all of the required legal documents and go to court on your behalf. Our mediated divorces take on average 1-3 months, compared to litigated divorces, which frequently take 1-2 years to resolve. The time you can save also translates into financial savings. Mediation with us is not about billable hours, but rather about separating you from your spouse in the most amicable, cost-effective way, while preserving relationships, especially where children are involved.
STEP 1: FREE PHONE CONSULTATION
This initial consult will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about our attorney mediated service and how this differs from what you will experience if you turn to litigated divorce proceedings or if you chose a non-attorney mediator. During this consult you will have a chance to explain the types of issues involved in your particular situation and ask any questions and concerns you may have.
STEP 2: IN OFFICE COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT
Our comprehensive assessment involves a complete review of your financials, as well as a complete overview of a parental plan, if applicable. This session will address every aspect of your divorce or separation and give you an opportunity to have all of your questions answered. At the end of your session, we will be able to provide you with an exact cost of the entire process, from start to finish, as well as estimated time of completion.
The comprehensive assessment will include a review of the following:
- Personal property (house contents, vehicles, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, other investment accounts, stocks, stock options, bonds, etc.);
- Liabilities (credit card debt, car loans, responsibility for mortgage notes, home equity loans, promissory notes, pension loans, and all other debt);
- Retirement benefits, including defined benefit plans (i.e. pensions), defined contribution plans (i.e. 401(k)), and other retirement plans;
- Real property (sale, transfer, buyout or continued joint ownership of marital residence, investment properties, time-shares, vacation or other property);
- Custody and visitation of minor children;
- Child Support;
- Spousal support;
- College education expenses;
- Medical insurance coverage;
- Life insurance coverage;
- Federal and state income taxes.
STEP 3: MEDIATION
Throughout the mediation process, a third-party mediation attorney will facilitate negotiation between both parties, providing guidance to reach a resolution. Mediators maintain a sense of order to curtail thoughts and emotions from spiraling out of control. With mediation, the details of divorce can be discussed privately in our office. Additionally, at Matrimonial Mediation Services of Buffalo, you will be helped by mediation attorneys, who can draft binding legal documents that many non-attorney mediators are not legally allowed to prepare.
- Expert Legal Advice: Many couples going through their divorce are not fully familiar with all of the financial and legal aspects of their divorce. Our attorney mediators will provide you with all of the information you will need to make informed and intelligent decisions and understand the implications of those decisions.
- Confidential, Respectful Environment: Our divorce mediation process is designed to promote respectful and constructive discussions between you and your spouse, thereby facilitating your ability to conclude an agreement between yourselves. We emphasize solutions, not blame or regrets.
- Constructive Discussions: In litigated divorces, much of the work the attorneys do (such as drafting pleadings and other documents, making motions, appearing in court to answer the calendar or ask for an adjournment, etc.) has little or nothing to do with the ultimate outcome of your divorce. They are just part of the game of legal chess that occurs in a litigated divorce. In divorce mediation with us, you will spend your time constructively, addressing the issues which must be resolved. Since you will do this directly with each other with the help of attorney mediators to advise you and answer your questions, you will dramatically decrease the time that it will take for the two of you to come to an agreement.
- A Complete Agreement: As experienced attorney mediators, we will help you and your spouse reach amicable terms on important issues, eliminating chances of lingering ambiguity in the years to come. This approach will enable you to move on with your life.
STEP 4: SEPARATION AGREEMENT
The mediation process concludes in the execution of a formal, legally binding separation agreement drafted by our attorney mediators.
Your separation agreement will provide you with the assurance that all important issues have been addressed and that there is nothing that has been overlooked or left out. In fact, you should be left with a better agreement in divorce mediation than you will be should you to turn to adversarial litigated divorce proceedings. This is because you are free to make a far more complete agreement for yourselves than a court is permitted to make for you. Thus, you will not be left with just half of an agreement – one that only looks to today, but does not make adequate provision for tomorrow – which is so often the case with agreements that are executed through litigated divorce proceedings.
STEP 5: DIVORCE
Once you have concluded and signed your separation agreement you will be legally separated, but still married. Legal separation means that you each have the right to live separate and apart and to conduct yourselves in all respects as if you are not married. Once the separation agreement is signed, you will have the choice of remaining legally separated or ending your marriage by obtaining a divorce. If you wish to divorce, our experienced divorce mediation attorneys will prepare all of the necessary legal documents. You do not need to appear in court in our uncontested no-fault divorce process. All court appearances will be handled by our attorney mediators.
As part a separation or divorce agreement, one party may transfer his or her interest in a home (or in some other property) to the other. At Matrimonial Mediation, our attorneys can handle your separation or divorce from start to finish, including preparing and recording deeds.
POST- AND PRE-NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS & LAST WILLS AND TESTAMENTS
Many couples wish to enter into an agreement making provision in the event of the termination of their marriage, either by death or divorce. It is especially important to update your Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy following a Separation or Divorce. At Matrimonial Mediation Services, our attorneys can guide you through the process and draft these critical documents for you.