Category Archives: General

How to file for divorce in NY?

In order to file for divorce in NY, there are two basic requirements:

1. You must satisfy the residency criteria.
2. You must satisfy the grounds for divorce criteria set by the state.
In order to satisfy the residency criteria, you need to have either been married in the state of NY with at least one party remaining in the state as a resident at the time of filing for divorce, or that you have resided in NY as a husband and wife at the time of filing for at least one year, or that the cause for divorce occurred in the state and both parties are residents at the time of filing.
The grounds for divorce would need to be one of the following:
1. Cruel and inhumane treatment
2. Abandonment
3. Confinement to prison for a period of three or more consecutive years
4. Adultery
5. Living apart for one or more years prior to the final judgement on the divorce case
6. Living apart for one or more years in accordance with the written agreement of separation
Once the decision is to separate, you may choose to hire an attorney for each of you and embark on a long (and very costly) journey to litigation. This is a good option if you believe that your spouse and you are unable to mediate and that your spouse is being dishonest (hiding assets, for example). Do keep in mind,though, that if you have children together, you will be standing together at their graduations and weddings. and as hard as it sometimes may seem- it is always better to separate on good terms-financially, personally, and of course, for the sake of your children.

How to file for divorce in NJ?

Under the law in NJ, you have the right to represent yourself in a divorce case. Before you file for divorce on your own, you need to talk to your spouse and consider your options: even when you file on your own (pro se), you can choose to use a mediator, who would help you draft your agreement. Your divorce agreement through mediation generally has two stages:

1. A memorandum of understanding- in which the mediator would summarize the things that your partner and you agree upon
2. A marital settlement agreement- which is your memorandum converted into a more formal document which will be filed with the court.
A good mediator would give you precise guidance along the process. The process should typically take 6-10 hours (2-4 meetings). You would be advised to consult with an attorney prior to signing your agreement.
You may also choose to hire an attorney for each of you and embark on a long (and costly) journey to litigation. This is a good option if you believe that your spouse and you are unable to mediate and that your spouse is being dishonest (hiding assets, for example). Do keep in mind,though, that if you have children together, you will be standing together at their graduations and weddings, and as hard as it sometimes may seem, it is always better to separate in good terms-financially, personally and of course, for the sake of your children.

How to Get a Divorce in New York?

(without creating a hole in your pocket, losing your sanity and going into a long and costly process)

By Michelle Rozen, Expert Divorce Mediator, 5 Penn Plaza, 19th Floor, NYC 10001, Owner of Divorce Without Disaster, Affordable and Professional Divorce Mediation Services

1. Contact a mediator. Mediation always offers the most amicable, same and affordable way to get a divorce or a legal separation.

2. Schedule a free of charge consultation meeting. It is a great way for both you to gain information about the process and about your options. By the time you leave this meeting, you will be very clear about what the process is, what to expect and what the next steps are.

3. Consider legal separation. This can be converted to a divorce after one year.In New York you must have a reason or “grounds” for the divorce. No-fault divorce doesn’t exist in New York, and for many divorcing couples, legal separation is the best way to go about divorce without assigning fault.

4. Keep in mind that mediation is confidential, short term, and goal oriented. There are no Court appearances, no messiness , no ugliness. You are going through a very tough time in your life. Mediation makes your separation easier to deal with emotionally – and certainly financially.

5. You will be encouraged to seek legal advice but you will not be litigating your case in Court.

Spare yourself, your spouse and your kids the agony of a messy divorce. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-506-6953.

What is a Parenting Coordinator?

What is a Parenting Coordinator?

By Michelle Rozen, a Parenting Coordinator in NYC, Northern NJ, Westchester County NY, and Southern CT.

A Parenting Coordinator is a neutral professional, appointed by the Court or chosen by the parties for cases of high conflict post divorce cases, where there is great difficulty in co- parenting. This is a professional who is both a therapist and a mediator, familiar with family law as well as with psychotherapy or mental health counseling and with the field of Conflict Resolution.

Parenting Coordinators must be experienced and well-trained in child development and in what constitutes an appropriate visitation schedule.

Parenting Coordinators are not usually lawyers and do not give out legal advice, but must have knowledge of the legal process and a working knowledge of family law.

The Parenting Coordinator works directly and openly with both parents to help them communicate more effectively and to try and avoid and/or immediately resolve conflicts around child-related issues that come up.

Most cases seem to benefit from opinions and guidance from Parenting Coordinators who help make communication more effective. In addition, the Parenting Coordinator mediates issues and when the parents are unable to agree, the parenting coordinator is often given the power to arbitrate (decide) what the result should be.

Ultimately, the court has the final say over child custody and visitation issues, but a Parenting Coordinator can drastically reduce the need to go to court and therefore reduce conflict for the child in that family

The most significant impact that a parenting coordinator makes is in ultimately fostering communication and problem-solving skills between the parents. This, in addition to helping parents to recognize some of the underlying issues that cause parental conflict

It must be remembered that the Parenting Coordinator may report as necessary to the court.

The Parenting Coordinator can also be a facilitator between parents in issues where there is a difference of opinion.

The Parenting Coordinator can in some cases determine when, or if, a child is ready, equipped for, prepared for and or disposed to an increase in visitation.

The Parenting Coordinator develops with the parents a detailed parenting plan, which is agreed to by all parties. While flexibility allows for more room in making transitions easier for children, sometimes the more detailed the plan, the less room there is for conflict.

Michelle Rozen is an experienced, highly trained mediator and parenting coordinator, a PhD candidate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution with a specialty in family related conflict management, and a Family Therapist. A member of the American Association of Conflict Resolution. Michelle’s goal oriented, solution focused personality and parenting coordination style has helped many divorced or separated couples improve their co-parenting in order to allow their kids to thrive in spite of the divorce. Michelle Rozen’s private practices for Parenting Coordination are located in Midtown NYC, Bergen County NJ (covering Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, and Union County), Monmouth County NJ, Norwalk CT and Westchester county NY.

What are the Benefits of Mediation?

1. It’s Affordable. Hiring an attorney can cost thousands of dollars for even a simple case, without a firm guarantee of proper resolution. Mediation provides an affordable alternative to costly litigation.

2. It’s Fast. Lawsuits can take years off your life in waster time, frustration, money, and emotional pain. Mediation usually takes only a fraction of the time that the legal system takes.

3. It’s Confidential. Cases handled in court are typically open to the public, so anyone can listen in on your private life. Confidentially in a mediation is protected by law, so you can resolve your dispute with privacy and with dignity.

4. It’s Empowering. Traditional litigation is hostile, adversarial, and aggressive. It focuses on assigning blame and punishment. Mediation doesn’t assign blame or punishment–it seeks to invent solution to a mutual problem through cooperative problem-solving.

5. It’s Emotionally Healthy. The legal system rarely takes the psychological or emotional factors of either party into account. Litigation is cold, hard, and uncaring. Both parties are instructed not to talk to each other and neither side gets to voice their concerns. Mediation uses the psychological power of empathy to create mutual understanding

An expert family and divorce mediator, a PhD candidate in the area of Conflict Management within the Family, mediation trainer and keynote speaker. A member of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York, of the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators, and of the Connecticut Council for Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Practice. Michelle’s goal oriented yet empathetic mediation style and her extensive knowledge in the field of mediation and conflict resolution has allowed for many couples to end their relationship and resolve their disputes in the most peaceful, amicable, respectable and affordable way. 1-800-509-6953

How to choose a divorce mediator?

Choosing the right divorce mediator for you and for your spouse is critical for the success of the process.You want a divorce mediator who has received a certificate of divorce mediation training (40 hours) as well as a certificate of intensive advanced training. Mediators may come from other relevant professions like family law and family therapy.
You may also want to check experience with the issues relating to divorce are important qualifications. While specific divorce mediation experience is a clear credential,and it is important to ask the mediator about his or her background and training. The more trained and experienced the mediator is, the higher the chances of success in the process.

Look for a qualified professional with whom you feel comfortable—You want your mediator to be a skillful facilitator who helps you define your own choices but who can also, when appropriate, offer specific options from his experience that you may not have considered. Choose someone whom you believe is qualified and with whom you feel very comfortable so you can be as open as possible.

Why should we choose mediation?

Mediation is generally more affordable, quicker, and more effective than litigation.

Litigation can last years, while mediation is usually started and completed in a few weeks even for the most complex cases.

Additionally, in litigation there is a winner and a loser and as a result the parties often leave angry and bitter over the results. In mediation, however, the individuals are able to craft their own resolution rather than having them imposed upon them. Your parenting plan, for example, will be designed by you rather than imposed on you by the court, and so will the rest of your decisions regarding finances and more.

When can mediation be used?

Mediation is appropriate at any stage of a dispute. It can be the first step in seeking a resolution of the dispute after any negotiations conducted by the parties alone have failed or it can be used at any time during litigation or arbitration when the parties wish to interrupt the litigation or arbitration to attempt settlement.

Another common use of mediation is prevention. Individuals or parties may mediate during negotiations for an agreement when the negotiations have reached an impasse.

Do keep in mind- mediation is always an option. Even when you think that things between your spouse and you are hopelessly ’stuck’. an experienced mediator can help you reach decisions and move forward.

What is The Difference Between a Legal Separation and Divorce?

Unlike divorce, a legal separation does not put an end to the marriage. During a legal separation, a court order regulates the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they are living apart. You remain legally married while choosing to live separate lives. Issues that can be addressed in a separation agreement are division of assets and debts, child custody and child support, visitation schedules and spousal support.
The same issues addressed during the divorce process are also addressed in a legal separation agreement. A legal separation can protect your interests until the decision is made to file for divorce. Legal separation of one year is also a cause for divorce without assigning fault to either spouse in the state of NY. Some couples choose legal separation as a means of allowing time to evaluate where things are at between them while regulating financial and custody issues, and some use legal separation as a legitimate cause for divorce a year, or longer, down the road. Legal separation agreements can be reached in mediation, which will allow the parties for a quick, amicable and less painful process until the legal separation agreement is reached.

What are the advantages of legal separation?

Although a legal separation and divorce have, many things in common there are some advantages to obtaining a legal separation rather than a divorce. I usually count seven main advantages:

1. It allows couples time apart, away from the conflict of the marriage to decide if divorce is what they truly want.
2. It allows for the retention of medical benefits and certain other benefits that divorce would bring to an end.
3. If your religious beliefs conflict with the idea of divorce, you are able to live separately and retain your marital status for religious beliefs.
4. If you are a military spouse, you may wish to remain married for 10 years so that you can take advantage of benefits set up by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act.
5. Remaining married for 10 years or more also means being able to take advantage of certain social security benefits for a spouse.
6. If the decision to divorce is made, the legal separation agreement can be converted into a divorce settlement agreement.
7. In the state of New York, legal separation for 12 months can be ground for divorce for couples who do not have any other grounds for divorce.