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Resolving disputes creatively

Utilizing divorce mediation for equitable distribution

When people divorce in New York, it is generally not as simple as moving out and forgetting about the marriage. There are many issues that arise as people separate their lives. If the couple has a child, they will have to deal with child support, child custody and visitation. They may have to deal with spousal maintenance and almost every couple with have to divide their assets and debts during the divorce.

The distribution under New York law is to be equitable. This does not necessarily mean that it has to be equal though. The judge would analyze a number of factors to determine how the assets and debts should be divided. These factors include, but are not limited to, the income of both spouses at the time of marriage and the time of divorce, the length of the marriage and overall health of the spouses, if the custodial parent needs to remain in the home, whether the assets are liquid or not, the future earning potential of each spouse, whether either spouse wasted any assets and others.

However, the couple does not need to leave the decision to a judge to make. The couple could go to divorce mediation to resolve the issues on their own. The couple is in the best position to know what they own and the needs of each spouse moving forward. Also, mediators are trained to help the couple resolve the issues between them. Coming to an agreement through mediation can be very beneficial for the couple, both financially and emotionally.

One aspect of a divorce that almost all couples must deal with in a divorce is asset division. The law states that there must be an equitable division, and judges use a number of factors to determine what is equitable. But, the couples are in a much better position to know what is equitable and mediation can be an effective tool to help the couple reach an agreement on asset division.

Source: NYSBA.org, "Introduction to Equitable Distribution and Maintenance" accessed on Aug. 30, 2016

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