Legal Separation and Separation By Agreement

Legal Separation and a Separation by AgreementA judgment of a court granting legal separation declares that you and your spouse are legally separate. The judgment requires that you and your spouse be treated as separate persons. After the judgment of legal separation you can no longer file income taxes as married, you are no longer entitled to share in each other’s earnings or to support each other (unless you have agreed to in a separation agreement). The difference between legal separation and divorce is that in legal separation neither side can re-marry and the right to inherit is not terminated, except by a properly written and signed agreement. Generally, the timing and cost of a legal separation in court is about the same as for a divorce.

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No Losers in Mediation or Collaborative Divorce

There are No Losers in MediationEvery February,  Americans are privileged to celebrate  the birthdays of two of our greatest presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Both served during war, but undoubtedly each would have preferred a peaceful resolution to the problem of  his times.

Washington was a soldier who led many battles. Yet, he wrote to a friend, “Unhappy it is, though, to reflect that a brother’s sword has been sheathed in a brother’s breast, and the once happy plains of America are either to be drenched with blood or inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative.”

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New York Enacts No-Fault Divorce Law

New York Now a No Fault Divorce StateNew York has enacted a no-fault divorce law that took effect this October 12, 2010. Prior to that date, the only grounds for divorce in New York State were Cruel and Inhuman Treatment; Abandonment for at least one year; Imprisonment for more than 3 years; and  Conversion of a  judgment of separation or a written signed separation agreement after living separately for at least one year.

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Lawyers Do Not Necessarily Know

Lawyers do not necessarily knowResearch has shown that lawyers routinely overestimate their chances of success in their cases, and the amount of experience they have had does not make much difference. A professor at the University Of California, Elizabeth Loftus, is co-author of a study which examined the accuracy of lawyers’ predictions. The researchers surveyed 481 lawyers in 44 states who handled cases expected to go to trial. They were asked to rate their confidence in achieving a stated minimal goal. The study found that the lawyers were less successful than their predictions in 44% of their cases.

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Divorce Mediation Conference – Parenting Plans

NYSCDMRecently I spent a weekend at the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation’s annual conference, which, as a member of the Board of Directors and Conference Committee, I helped to arrange. More than 150 mediators from all over the state attended to hear prominent experts on divorce related issues run workshops and lectures to improve our skills and keep current with the latest information that will help our clients get through the difficult Divorce Process as easily as possible.

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How To Obtain Your Truly Free Credit Report

I always recommend that my divorcing and separating clients obtain ans share their credit reports to make sure that there are no surprise debts or credit lines. People may discover that they have credit cards in their name that they were not have aware of, and obtaining the report early in the divorce process presents the opportunity to correct inaccuracies that could impact ability to qualify for credit, or even for employment.

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What about a legal separation?

A legal separation does not end the marriage.When couples separate legally, they remain legally married, but live separately. They A legal separation can be created by a court order (relatively rare), or by signing a separation agreement that spells out the terms of child custody and support, division of property and debts, and spousal support (i.e. alimony) if any is agreed to.

There are many reasons that some couples choose to separate legally, rather than get divorced. Sometimes the reason is religious, ethical or moral, and sometimes it is for insurance or other reasons.

Be Well,

Mike Stokamer,

Separation & Divorce Mediator & Collaborative Attorney

Welcome To My Blog

Michael P Stokamer, JD. Divorce Mediator

Welcome. I am a Family and Divorce Mediator and a Collaborative Attorney. I started my legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in New York County (Manhattan). From there I went into private practice for myself and handled many different types of cases over the years. One thing that I learned very early on, was that Divorce and Family issues were not suited to the litigation process. Rarely was anyone satisfied with the process. Not the clients, not the lawyers, not the judge. Rarely, did anyone ever feel that they had won, or that the system was a good one for solving their family or divorce related problems.

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