Am I Divorced Now? How About Now? Okay Now??
Part 3: As we said in our last blog, Alice went down that rabbit hole: Dorothy ended up in Oz: And just like Alice and Dorothy, couples trying to get divorced in NYS often feel as if they’re navigating a topsy turvy universe in which they have no idea of the rules.
In our last blog we brought you to the yellow brick road: You’ve decided to divorce using mediation. But as you and your partner walk down that path, how are you going to reach your goal: A Separation Agreement?
The Stops along the Way: A separation agreement does exactly what its moniker suggests; it separates all aspects of the lives of a Husband and Wife. In mediation we discuss all terms you need to put into an Agreement.
- You separate your lives as Husband and Wife but not as a family: When a couple with children mediate, we work with them to determine a parenting plan for the Agreement. No parent “wins” custody. The emphasis is on the child’s best interests in deciding where the child should live and how the child spends time with each parent. The courts have a holistic approach that we embrace. If both parents are fit, children are always better off when both parents are very involved in their lives.
- You’ve got to do the math! But then you can opt to have it go away! There are certain mathematical formulas the court requires in a Separation Agreement.
- CSSA: What did you say??? A Separation Agreement won’t be legally valid if it doesn’t calculate child support using the Child Support Standards Act (known as the CSSA). This formula calculates how much each parent is supposed to pay in child support. But it’s not so black and white – we help you calculate child support according to the CSSA and write it into the Agreement, as required. BUT if you give the courts a valid reason, you can deviate from the formulaic amount. In mediation, you decide between yourselves the amount of child support, as long as deviating from the CSSA is in the best interests of the Children.
- The Road not yet Traveled: Temporary maglie calcio poco prezzo maintenance, and post-divorce maintenance. The Governor has just signed into law this month a new bill that provides mathematical formulas for temporary maintenance and maintenance (alimony) after divorce. Just like with the CSSA, parties can opt out of the formula once they know about it and decide for themselves questions about maintenance.
- And Toto too: Everything you’ve accumulated since you married is considered marital property. (with a few exceptions, such as an inheritance kept separate). You have to divide all the assets: retirement funds, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, even assets like frequent flyer miles. Since New York is an Equitable Distribution state, everything isn’t automatically split down the middle – but equitably, which means fairly (and most often it does end up 50-50). However, if you want the retirement funds and your partner wants the bank accounts, and you both think that’s fair – than you get to do it your way. And yes, you decide about the dog; not just who gets to keep him, but who pays those big future vet bills.
- There is no place like Home; Do you keep it until the kids graduate? Does one of you buy the other out? Do you sell it and split the difference. And of course this applies to any other properties you own.
- And you have to pay the piper: Martial debts too must be divided too.
So now you can see to the end of the road: You’ve mediated your terms, and your Separation Agreement includes your parenting plan, the CSSA calculation and the amount of child support you’re paying if you opt out; the maintenance formulas, and how much one party is paying (if anything) for maintenance; the division of your real estates, assets, debts and Toto too.
But does that mean you’re divorced? No!! A valid Separation Agreement is a legally binding contract. You need to take more steps to get your divorce decree.
In truth, it’s the 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 steps to divorce. But now that you’re so close, and the hard part for you and your partner is over, you won’t mind following me further down the road with our next blog, which will finally get you behind the scenes and land you that divorce decree!