Divorce Processes

Divorce Process

Darren M. Shapiro, Esq. is an experienced litigator, certified mediator, trained collaborative law attorney, and skilled negotiator with years of experience within the fields of family and matrimonial law. As a litigator, legal professional and trained mediator, he has been through a number of complex cases, each with their own set of unique circumstances and issues to consider. In New York, and across Long Island, one concept that remains constant from one case to the next, is that neither collaboration, litigation nor mediation will be either the best, or worst choice one hundred percent of the time. Fortunately, Darren works alongside his clients to achieve effective and practical resolutions according to their needs and desired outcomes. With that in mind, he can assist individuals in need of legal assistance, when it comes to choosing the right path forward.

In some cases, litigation will be the only realistically viable option. Litigation is the term used to define proceedings that may be initiated by opposing parties in an attempt to enforce or defend a given right. Though cases can sometimes be settled before or during a trial, litigation is generally decided by the court once the argument has been heard and assessed by the judge. Jury trial are only a possibility for the issues of grounds which is usually not an issue nowadays since their in the no-fault law in New York. Although initiating litigation proceedings is a voluntary act for the plaintiff, it is a mandatory requirement for the defendant once he or she has been served.

In the process of a divorce by litigation, the judge will be required to make the final, binding and legal decision regarding what the outcome of a hearing will be. Because of this, parties involved in the litigation will lose control over the decision given to them, though in some cases it may be possible to appeal that result. In litigation, the court will provide a strict timetable to ensure that a case moves forward steadily even if one party attempts to delay proceedings. However, something to keep in mind is that a case that goes all the way to trial will usually be the longest of all the processes. The court can enforce any directions the defendant or plaintiff has been directed to take. Litigation in divorce provides a clear outcome for parties who are struggling to meet an agreement themselves, though the process can nurture discomfort between parties both during and after the case concludes.

For some people, the simplest, and most positive option for approaching divorce will be through mediation. This can be the least expensive, least stressful and fastest way to make arrangements about personal matters, children or finances, and resolve disputes following a divorce. The aim of mediation is generally to find a solution that works for both parties, while keeping the best interests of any children firmly in mind.

Generally, mediation is voluntarily initiated by both parties involved, except for in rare cases where a court order, contract or statute has forced someone to participate. During mediation, both parties will maintain their authority in making decisions, and Darren Shapiro, as a trained mediator, will offer his wealth of experience for assistance in seeking out an agreeable solution through an informal and flexible process. Like collaborative law, in most mediation cases, the parties involved control the outcome, with a focus to hopefully create a better future for everyone involved. However, it's worth noting that mediation will only work if both parties maintain good faith.

If mediation doesn't seem entirely appropriate, Darren M. Shapiro is also a certified collaborative law attorney, which offers yet another avenue for those in the midst of divorce cases. Collaborative law offers parties an opportunity to resolve their disputes by stepping outside of the litigious setting of court and instead searching for solutions to problems. Both parties are expected to retain their own separate attorneys in collaborative law, and usually will enlist other trained professionals such as a mental health specialist, child specialist or financial specialist to be part of the collaborative team.

Both parties need to agree to decide to initiate collaborative law proceedings, and they each retain their authority regarding decision making throughout the case. The professionals involved with the case, such as Darren Shapiro, will simply act as educated and skilled assistance in guiding both parties towards a mutually beneficial solution. Collaborative law presents a wide range of potential benefits, as it can assist in maintaining a sense of good will and communication between the parties involved. This can be particularly important in circumstances wherein children are involved, as it can nurture a good relationship between the parents.

If none of the above options seems to be the appropriate course of action within your legal proceedings, you may further consider the concept of negotiated settlements. In simple terms, a negotiated settlement places the process of a divorce into a different legal avenue that might keep both parties outside of court, but ensures that they each also can get the advice they need, if they choose, through their own attorneys. The concept that exists behind a negotiated settlement is that an agreement should be met by the disputing parties with the assistance of their attorneys, but perhaps without the input of a formal, professional mediator or judge or minimal input.

Unlike collaborative law or mediation where both parties involved decide to voluntarily engage in the next step of the process, the initiation of a negotiated settlement generally takes place when the lawyer of one party drafts a resolution that they find to be desirable in the circumstances of the divorce. Once this has been drafted, the resolution is then delivered to the other party and lawyer, where it may be discussed privately or in group meetings. After the proposals given have been appropriately negotiated, a solution can usually be reached with the help of both attorneys that is acceptable to each party. The difference between collaborative law, mediation and this process, is that it still operates as an adversarial model similar to litigation. In some cases, negotiated settlements can be initiated while a litigation process is already in process.

Often, negotiated settlements offer a less stressful option in approaching matters, permitting people to avoid the anxiety of a court environment. What's more, similarly to collaborative law and mediation, negotiated settlements can help to promote communication between the parties involved, though often the attorneys are expected to do a majority of the talking.

For more information about the various processes and venues available in divorce procedures, or other family law concepts, please reach out to us. If you are interested in using Mr. Shapiro as a mediator, litigator, or collaborative law attorney, please feel free to schedule your free half-an-hour consultation at your earliest convenience. Let us know how we can help you, it would be our pleasure to offer our assistance.

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