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Adversarial and Mediation Approaches to Divorce
Factor Adversarial Mediation
Definition of the issues: Strongly influenced by attorneys Defined by divorcing parties
Who is the client? The husband OR the wife The family
Legal framework: John Doe VS Mary Doe John AND Mary Doe
Relationship of divorcing parties to each other: Focus on past Focus on current issues
Relationship of divorcing parties to their children: Conflicts, adjustment problems Preserves parent/child relationship, co-parenting
Children: Not the concern of the attorneys Primary concern
Parenting plan: "Custody/Visitation"; court decides Parents decide on plan
Anger and hostility: Rekindled, tend to escalate Tend to decrease/weaken
Stress, emotional trauma: Prolonged, tends to increase Shortened, tends to lessen
Expense of divorce: More, sometimes much more Less, usually much less
Time to reach agreement: More, longer delay Less, as quickly as desired
Settlement expectations: Strongly influenced by attorneys Those of divorcing parties
Goal, desired outcome: Win, give little, get more A fair equitable agreement
Final decision: Made by a judge Made by the parties
Compliance with terms: Less likely if imposed by outsiders More likely if parties' own
Post divorce disputes: More likely Less likely


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New York is an equitable distribution state which means that in a New York divorce the court divides marital property equitably between the parties, unless a written settlement agreement is achieved. All property in the divorce case is either separate property owned by the individual, or marital property owned by the married couple.
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