What Kind of Family Law Cases Can Be Mediated?

In the realm of Westchester family law, most people instantly think of divorce and child custody as the only kinds of issues that can be worked out through mediation.  The reality is that mediation is appropriate and successful in a wide range of family law issues.  When mediation is used instead of litigation, parties are more likely to work together and compromise while keeping their financial and time investment lower.

When looking into mediation to resolve your family dispute, selecting the mediator is a vital step.  You should confirm that the mediator is qualified to help address the issue at hand, so do your research in advance to determine his or her past experience as well as his or her comfort level in assisting you.      The mediator plays a crucial role helping you to communicate with the other party, so you need to be clear about how much the right mediator can assist your case.

In family law, conflicting parties might be more amenable to working together to resolve the dispute as opposed to escalating tensions and taking the concern into court.  Using mediation as a first stop in the effort to resolve something is a wise consideration that one or both parties may be exploring.  Select a qualified mediator to increase the chances of resolution success.

What If We Can’t Agree On All Issues in Divorce Mediation?

It’s very rare for a Middle town couple going through a divorce to agree on all but just a few issues, but even where this is the case you may benefit from going through the process of mediation.  There is a myth that divorce mediation only works for those with few issues to decide or marriage dissolutions that could be described as “simple”, but that’s not the case.

If you believe that a few issues will be contentious in mediation, consider reaching out to a network of professionals to help you work through these concerns.  It is not uncommon to engage appraisers, accountants, and financial planners during truly complex divorces.  Combined with the experience of a mediator, a team of professionals with expertise in the field can help you work out issues that you previously perceived to cause gridlock in communication.

If you have engaged with the mediator and other professionals and still find that one or two issues are outstanding in the divorce, you can put together an agreement addressing all the settled concerns.      From there, you can attempt to litigate the remaining issues or you can take some space to think about your options and consider whether returning to mediation down the road might make more sense.

A qualified mediator in Middletown is an essential instrument in your divorce because he or she will know how to navigate through difficult situations and help you and your spouse find opportunities to compromise.  While it’s not guaranteed that you will solve everything related to the divorce in mediation, it’s well worth the effort to try things outside of court first.  You may find that you can work through divorce-related questions more quickly and less expensively than if you pursued litigation.

Key Elements of a Successful Prenuptial Agreement

More New York couples are seeing the benefits of prenuptial agreements these days, but these documents are only as powerful as what you put in them.  When done properly, a prenuptial agreement can help prepare you for the future and outline concerns that are most important for you and your life together.

Under the guidance of a Scarsdale family law attorney, your prenuptial agreement can address almost anything.  Some of the most common issues that appear in prenuptial agreements include the waiving of alimony or other support or specific requests which deal with the default rule in community property.

Agreements can be especially beneficial when you and your future spouse are linked to any of the following factors:

  • Owning part of all of a business
  • Expect to receive an inheritance in the future
  • One or both partners have assets already like retirement funds or a home
  • There are children from a previous marriage
  • One partner expects to support the other through an educational endeavor
  • One of you has significantly more assets than the other

In order to accomplish the drafting of such document, you’ll need to carefully consider all of the factors listed above and consult with a New York family law attorney.  Depending on your needs, you may need to add wording and guidelines that specifically addresses your situation.

Although it’s not easy to have a conversation about the importance of prenuptial agreements, it can be a valuable one that helps you and your spouse discuss critical financial issues and long-term plans.

Putting together a prenuptial agreement can be very prudent planning, even if it’s difficult to bring up the subject with your future spouse.   Gaining more awareness about family and financial concerns can be a very valuable exercise for you.

How Can Child Custody and Support Mediation Benefit the Kids?

There are numerous benefits to opting for divorce mediation for couples, but choosing to go this route can also be advantageous for children.  Working with a neutral New City child custody and support mediator can set the tone for the future of your relationship while minimizing the impact for children.

The first reason that child custody and support mediation is beneficial is because the process is non-adversarial.  Even the most emotionally controlled individuals can find it challenging to keep the emotional trauma of litigation and coming home.  Children are very sensitive to the moods and emotions of their parents, so any opportunity you can take to minimize disagreements and fighting with your former spouse is good.

Conflict is extremely common in a contested divorce, even when you have the best of intentions of keeping it positive or shielding children from disagreements.  Inevitably, children may find themselves caught in the middle when you choose litigation as opposed to working with a New City child custody and support mediator.

The mediation process does not focus on blame, although the adversarial nature of litigation can pit one parent against another.  A trained mediator helps to remove blame from the topics of conversation and instead focus on collaborating to generate a parenting plan that is focused on the needs of the children.  As a parent, you are likely to experience less stress going through mediation, allowing you to focus on doing your job as a parent and helping your child adjust to the many changes that are happening in their lives.

Choosing to work through divorce issues in mediation is extremely beneficial for your own purposes, but it can also allow children to sort through emotional divorce-related issues on their own without added pressure.

Is Family Law Mediation Better Than Working With a Lawyer?

Most people are aware of the opportunity to contact a lawyer to sort through family disputes that have gotten out of control, but there are other options too.  You don’t always have to turn directly to litigation when there is some kind of family law dispute like concerns over separation, divorce, or child custody.  In fact, you may be able to resolve your issues more expediently using mediation.

Mediation takes the conflict out of the court and allows you to work with an experienced Rochester family law mediator.  In this process, the mediator is a neutral individual appointed to help address critical issues.  Since you don’t have to rely on busy court schedules to address family law issues, mediation can usually address your concerns very quickly and in several meetings.  One of the most positive outcomes of opting to go this route is that you save both time and money.  Furthermore, you can benefit from reduced emotional trauma from having to go through the litigation process.  Mediation is far less adversarial than litigation and can actually help to improve communication skills or repair relationships.

Some couples go through the mediation process but also choose to hire an attorney to represent their interests.  This works in situations where you don’t feel comfortable directly negotiating with the other party or where the other spouse does not want to mediate.  You can still allow for a swift evaluation of critical family law issues without the headaches of litigation.

Mediation also tends to result in resolution that is more likely to be mutually agreeable between disputing parties.  Having some power, flexibility, and comfort with mediation are just a few of the reasons that family law disputes are being assisted by Rochester family law mediators

How Does a Judge Determine Custody?

Even if you have already retained a family lawyer in Westchester County to help handle your child custody case, you should be aware of the process by which judges make custody determinations.  The outcome of your child custody case can have major ramifications on the time you spend with your children as well as your life after divorce, so you should consult directly with an experienced attorney about the possible scenarios that could work for you.

In New York, judges determine both residential and legal custody issuesResidential custody refers to the actual location where the child lives, while legal custody specifies which parent or parents are able to make important decisions regarding the children.  One parent may be awarded primary residential and legal custody, but it’s also possible that a judge will determine joint legal custody is the best solution for your family.  This refers to situations when both parents have some form of legal custody over the child.

Judges make decisions about child custody in Westchester County New York by using the best interests of the child standard.  They may take into account the child’s preference, any histories of child abuse or neglect, the age of the parents, the financial situation of the parents, drug and alcohol usage by the parents, and any physical or mental health issues that could impact a parent’s ability to care for a child or children.

Custody battles can escalate quickly, which is why you need to be prepared with any documentation addressing the above issues for yourself or the other parent.  You may even need to have character witnesses speak on your behalf to testify about your parenting abilities and skills.  Your family law attorney will be able to provide you with more insight about what’s needed in your case.

Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights in New York?

In the state of New York, grandparents may have limited rights to visit their grandchildren.  This is because the law states that parents have the fundamental and primary right to raise their children how they see fit.  As a result, grandparents will only be granted specific visitation rights if the New York courts believe that doing so is in the best interests of the child.

There are many factors that could be evaluated by a New York court when it comes to determining grandparent visitation rights, but there is a two part test employed to decide whether this is the most appropriate solution.  First, the court has to feel that visitation rights for the grandparents is in the best interests of the child.  Second, it has to be clear that there is already a functioning and established relationship between the child and the grandparents.

When it comes to determining the best interests of the child in a New York grandparent visitation case, the court might evaluate the wishes of the child, the morality of the parents, the past behavior of one or both parents, education opportunities, how the home environment influences the child or children, and the physical or emotional needs of the child.

Visitation rights cases for New York grandparents can be difficult because compared to other states, New York is relatively restrictive.  This doesn’t mean that you don’t have a possible case, however.  If you believe that you should fight for visitation rights of your grandchildren, you need to consult with an experienced New York family law attorney to learn more about how to initiate this kind of case.  Since the law is complex, it’s essential to hire a talented attorney as soon as possible for your case.

What Are New York’s Alimony Guidelines?

When you’re a party to a divorce, you likely have some questions about alimony and how it’s determined in the state of New York.  While alimony is not granted in every case, it’s worth understanding how the court considers needs and how it decides when alimony is applicable and under what circumstances it should be paid.

Temporary maintenance may be awarded when the divorce proceedings begin.  It takes into account the immediate financial needs of one spouse by evaluating the standard of living before the divorce and the reasonable needs of the spouse to be supported.

After divorce, alimony or spousal support can continue for a specific period or it can stop when certain life events happen.  Examples of these life events including the supported spouse living with someone else, the supported spouse getting remarried, or the death of either spouse.

New York uses a specific formula to determine what amount of spousal support will be awarded.  There are situations, however, when a judge may not use that formula.  If the formula is, for some reason, found to be “unjust” or not appropriate in the determination of New York spousal support, the judge then considers other factors.  These include the age and health of each spouse, the standard of living for the spouses during the marriage, and the earning capacities of each spouse.

Courts can consider many different factors in determining whether spousal support should be awarded at all.  This includes the existence of a joint household before the marriage, the future and present income of both spouses, the length of the marriage, the income and property that each spouse has, and the ability of the receiving party to become “self-sufficient” at some point in the future.

Need more information?  A New York family law attorney will be able to further explain the intricacies of the guideline.

When Can I Modify Child Support Arrangements in New York?

Just because a child support order was handed down to one party or another doesn’t mean that life always stays the same.  In fact, major changes in the circumstances of involved parties can be grounds for altering child support arrangements in New York.  Either parent has the right to ask for changes in the child support order.

The parent who wants the change in the child support order has to go to the court and petition by filling out the New York paperwork necessary to request an official child support order change.  There are certain circumstances under which changes can be requested.

A substantial change in the circumstances of one of the parties to the child support order is one such reason.  The other two primary reasons for requesting a child support modification order  in New Yorkis when there has been a 15 percent increase or decrease in a parent’s income after the original order was issued or when three or more years have passed since the initial order was put into place.

Substantial changes in circumstances can seem a bit confusing, but applicable situations include when there are sudden medical needs for the child, an increase in medical bills, an illness on behalf of the paying parent, or a decrease in the income of a parent.  Review your situation with an experienced New York family law attorney to determine whether your circumstance meet the criteria for a change in a New York child support order.  If the court approves the petition, it will be backdated to the day the parent actually went to court to file the New York child support modification petition, not the specific date when the parent alleges changes in circumstances has actually happened.

Tips for Drafting Parenting Plans in New York

When you are heading into discussions over your New York parenting plan, it pays to be informed.  Knowing what to expect and how you can best structure the process to leave parties mutually accepting of the terms is critical for success.  Here are the top tips for putting together parenting plans in New York.

You’ll want to have all important information before you put together the parenting plan.  This means factoring in parental work schedules, the pattern of time-sharing with the child that happened before the divorce was final, the ability of the child to adapt to changes, as well as long term plans like set-in-stone vacation arrangements that should be accounted for.

It’s a good idea to consider how communication should happen between the parents if there are emergencies or last-minute changes that need to be considered.  Setting up a communication plan of action can limit arguments between you and your former spouse and set out clear protocol about discussions over altering the existing schedule.  This can ultimately be a positive step to help out the children involved in the case, too, by limiting a constantly shifting schedule and any particular disagreements related to when and under what circumstances the schedule can change.

Finally, factor in the developmental needs of each child.  Often, a cookie cutter New York parenting plan is not the best approach because it might miss out on some of the individual needs of the children.  If there are any psychological or behavioral disorders, as well as any medical need that should be factored in, bring those to the table when you’re drafting your parenting plan.

A parenting plan can be made easier by consulting with an experienced New York family law attorney as soon as possible.