Mediation is a voluntary process that enables parties to resolve their disputes outside of Court while providing the parties with a direct voice in the resolution. During mediation, the parties meet with a neutral third-party to facilitate an amicable resolution of the issues they were unable to resolve on their own.
At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, in New York City, we are utilizing the process of mediation in conjunction with the age-old principles of pre-marriage counseling, to provide a new and unique service, “Pre-Marriage Mediation” to couples looking to marry. While the concept of pre-marriage counseling is not novel, the issues that couples dealt with in premarital counseling 20-30 years ago are very different than the issues that come up today. Today, couples are getting married later in life—in many cases in their thirties or forties, when each party has already made serious investments, contributed to a retirement account, perhaps purchased a home, and may have started a business. How does that couple integrate what they have from before the marriage into their new financial and emotional partnership? Do they combine bank accounts? Should they combine bank accounts? If the couple plans to have children, will one parent stay home, will one parent work remotely, are both people accepting of that concept – or not? Much like having a business partner and a partnership contract, a marriage is a legal relationship with real legal implications. When business partners or spouses see these financial or interpersonal issues differently, it can breed anger and resentment. Pre-Marriage Mediation Services enables couples embarking upon marriage to enter into their legal union prepared and informed.
Find out more about premarital mediation by calling (212) 466-6015 or contacting us online today.
What is Premarital Mediation and Why is it Helpful?
Led by Partner and Co-Chair of the Mediation and Collaborative Law Practice Group, Jessica L. Toelstedt, Pre-Marriage Mediation offers couples a supportive environment where they can discuss what type of financial partnership they envision having as a married couple and how that “vision” may or may not differ from what New York Law says would happen in the event a divorce or death.
For example, a fiancé(e) who accumulated a great deal of wealth before marriage may realize that they need a prenuptial agreement to ensure that premarital assets are protected. In other situations, the couple may be wondering what happens if they receive a gift from family to purchase a home or inherit a property where they plan to reside as a family. If the couple has answers to these types of questions before their marriage, they can plan appropriately so that, in the unfortunate event of death or divorce, the outcome will be the result of careful and thoughtful consideration.
Given the trend of marrying a bit later in life, it is even more important in today’s world for couples entering into a marriage to understand the impact of their legal union. We are offering couples the opportunity to combine the concept of premarital counseling with mediation, providing couples a forum in which they can learn about how New York law will impact them financially as a married couple.
What Happens During Pre-Marriage Mediation?
The Pre-Marriage Mediation process includes a New York divorce primer, which teaches couples how the law is applied in New York State, both in a divorce and when a spouse dies while married. As part of the process, the couple will provide a balance sheet with their assets and liabilities, information about current income, career trajectory, family wealth and any expected inheritance or beneficial interests in trusts. With that knowledge, a conversation can be had, facilitated by a trained mediator, about various marriage-related topics.
Some of the topics we tend to focus on during pre-marriage mediation are:
- What type of financial partnership you would like to have and how that relationship may be different than the default under the law.
- How to handle finances during your marriage and what the various implications are depending on how you use your accounts during the marriage.
- Discussion of future financial goals, life insurance, and the use of a financial planner and/or estate attorney to protect your assets and each other.
- What prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are and when such agreements may be relevant and helpful.
- How to handle gifts and inheritance during marriage.
- How to create or avoid the creation of marital property during a marriage.
- What your options are if you are at an impasse during your marriage.
- Discussion of various options for handling divorce and separation if that were to occur.
Discover the Benefits of Pre-Marriage Mediation Today
Pre-marriage mediation offers couples two key benefits
- The opportunity to have a conversation about the type of financial partnership they each envision during their marriage; and
- The opportunity to understand how New York law may impact their marriage in the event of divorce or death.
Of course, there are many other benefits of pre-marriage mediation. Each person who enters this process with the guidance of our attorney-mediators will be able to take unique benefits from it, based on their own expectations and questions about marriage. We invite you to see the benefits for yourself by calling (212) 466-6015 today!
CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO DIFFICULT & COMPLEX PROBLEMS
All families and marriages are unique - our attorneys take the time to listen to our clients to fully understand the circumstances of their case. Only then do we advise the best legal option for their goals.
PROMPT RESPONSES TO INDIVIDUAL NEEDS AND INQUIRES
Divorce is a time of transition. We understand the emotional and financial stress that clients experience during the divorce process – from day one our team ensures that we provide our clients with prompt feedback so that they are updated on their case every step of the way.
CHOICES AND OPTIONS TAILORED TO EACH CASE
We are one of the only Manhattan divorce law firms offering all three options for divorce: litigation/negotiation, collaborative law, and mediation - providing custom strategies and solutions for our clients.
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Our attorneys provide frequent expert legal commentary for national media outlets and have been quoted in numerous publications including Fox's Business, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and many more.