Divorce mediation can be used for unmarried couples as well as married couples. It is becoming more common that couples who never married come to mediation to seek resolution. Boyfriend, girlfriend, or same-sex couples living together own joint property, have joint bank accounts, and other assets and debts that have to be split. They may also have separate bank accounts that they want to keep separate after the dissolution of their relationship.
Since their relationships are ending, they want to create a contract whereby they address how assets and debts are divided as well as the contents of the residence they are living in, which contains some items bought prior to their relationship. These may be tangible items such as furniture, objets d’art, gold coins or intangible such as brokerage accounts.
Sometimes they’ve purchased vacation homes or timeshares. Perhaps they’ve purchased race horses or sailboats or maybe even a share in a jet plane. How many people do you get purchasing shares in jet planes? Well, when you have Wall Street people, this is part of their lifestyle, so they want an agreement that addresses everything. They can’t do it on their own and choose mediation because they want to avoid any possible litigation.
At the mediation session, I assist them in negotiating the terms of their Agreement, which my attorneys will write for them. I then make them aware that they can go to separate attorneys for review before signing the Agreement. At the conclusion of the mediation process, they have successfully divided that which was acquired during their relationship and avoided any kind of litigation. The costs are very small compared to the potential costs of litigating the division of property. And because the couple never married, never entered into a civil union, or a domestic partnership, there are no statutory obligations.
So is divorce mediation just for married couples? Hell, no!! It can be used for unmarried couples as well and be just as beneficial and successful.
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