Question

What should I do if my marriage is failing in New York?

Katherine Eisold Miller

Answered by:
Katherine Eisold Miller

Located in New Rochelle, NY
Miller Law Group

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Answer

Three Things To Do If Your Marriage Is Failing In NY

1. Be Sure. Work with a therapist and/or a marriage counselor to be sure the problem is the marriage and not something else. Divorce is liberating, but also painful and costly.Every marriage has ups and downs. There are always rough patches and the marriage should not be tossed away with the first serious argument or disagreement. On the other hand, a marriage should not be on such a downward spiral that one or both partners are increasingly miserable over the years. If the thought of spending your retirement years with your spouse fills you with dread, it might well mean that your marriage is failing or has failed.

2. Interview Lawyers. Not all lawyers are the same and not all lawyers offer the same services. In New York, more than 90 percent of divorce cases settle before a judge hands down a decision after a trial. Since you are very likely to settle your divorce, think about the best way to do that and know that there are choices. You could choose mediation, collaborative divorce or litigation. All are different. When you call a lawyer, find out what services he or she offers. Make a list of questions such as:

  • "How long have you been working in the collaborative model?" 
  • "How many of your cases end up in a full settlement?"
  • "Do you enjoy your work?"
  • "What types of clients do you work best with?"

It makes sense to clarify with a lawyer the level of experience he or she has with the process being chosen. You might ask if he or she teaches or has personal experience in the area in which he or she works.Certainly, make a list of questions to ask and bring it with you to the interview. Those questions can and should clarify the easily discernible information, such as experience, fees and communication styles and preferences, as well as answer any substantive question you may have about your situation or law as it may impact you and your family.

3. Get your finances in order. Make a record of your finances, including copies of all financial records that you have. Don't try to hide money. Start to keep track of your expenses – you will need to measure the cost of your lifestyle. This should neither be the extravagant lifestyle you wish you led nor a stripped-down budget lifestyle you think you can make do with, but a realistic picture of the cost of the life you have been living.

Your divorce will be less expensive and end with a better result if you are transparent with each other about money. Collaborative divorce and mediation are ways to help identify the information you will need and help you share it in a way that will move you forward at minimal cost.

Answered 03/13/2014

Disclaimer: This answer was provided by an attorney selected to Super Lawyers, and is intended to be an educated opinion only. This answer should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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