Your first stop should not necessarily be a lawyer: start at a book store or library and on the internet to educate yourself before you meet with a potential lawyer or mediator. After you’ve done that, call our office and schedule a personal consultation – there is no obligation to go ahead, it can be an educational opportunity if you are unsure what you want to do. Call us at 845-896-9651.
If you are considering separating from your spouse, you are probably having a million thoughts a minute. It is a difficult choice, with lots of implications, so it makes sense to slow down and think clearly.
Question One: Should I stay or should I go?
There are several books that are helpful in answering this question:
Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Goby Susan Pease Gadoua. This new book is designed to help you examine your own feelings and situation, to assist you in making up your mind. It does not urge divorce or reconciliation, but rather tries to help you understand your own feelings and alternatives.
Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step by Step Guide to Help you Decide Whether to Stay in or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum.
There are also some good books to help you try to repair your relationship. Consider Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First) by Jamie Turndorf, or Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner by Dr. Phillip C. McGraw.
Question Two: If I am leaving, how should we go about working out the details?
The process you choose to figure out the terms of your separation will have an enormous effect on you, your spouse and your children. The more hostile the separation, the harder the rest of your life will be. You need to read up on mediation and collaborative divorce, to see if one of these out of court alternatives is worth exploring. The out of court choices are less financially expensive, but even more important, they are less emotionally costly.
Divorce Without Court by attorney Katherine Stoner is an excellent review of mediation and collaborative law as alternatives to Court. You can often get this used through Amazon, and it will help you decide whether to pursue a mediation or collaborative consultation to consider these choices.
Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life, by Pauline H. Tesler and Peggy Thompson. This provides a clear picture of how collaborative divorce works and its advantages over the alternative approaches.
Question Three: How can I negotiate a fair deal with my spouse without feeling like I’ve either been taken advantage of or have taken advantage of him/her?
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In by Ury and Fischer is the best small book you’ll ever read. It will help you in negotiations with your spouse whether you stay or go, and will help you in all the other millions of negotiations we undertake over time – with the cable company, the contractor, your employer and the babysitter. Read it and you will exponentially increase your ability to negotiate in all situations.
Don’t have access to a book store or the library? What about the internet?
All of these books can be purchased at Amazon on line, but there is also a lot of information on line. Check out the following websites:
Hudson Valley: mhmediation.com
Hudson Valley: collabdivorce-ny.com;
Mediation: mhmediation.com, 845-471-7167
Collaborative Law: Lazar Schwartz & Jones, 845-896-9651