Question #81: I have been married for 25 yrs and want a divorce. I am employed, he is self -employed. I pay the bills, as I get paid every two weeks and he gives money as he gets money from jobs. He is a carpenter. We don’t have any children. Live on Long Island and own our home and land upstate NYS. Since I pay the bill and if I leave the home I will have to continue to pay the mortgage and rent at my new place . I can’t afford both.. I have a pension he does not- 25yrs of pension with NYS. Would this be difficult for me to do mediation ? or lawyer which is best for me. Do you have a free consultation for me to evaluate which is better?

Each side choosing an Atty. and battling it out in court in the adversarial system should be the last resort rather than the first resort. If your spouse is cooperative and wishes to get a divorce as well, there is no question that mediation will be faster, cheaper and less traumatic.
If you are located in the New York City metropolitan area please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for all of us to meet to discuss the matter at further length.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #80: Is there any of the mediation or arbitration solutions still an option if the parties are already going through the divorce proceedings in NY and also there is a “order of protection” in effect? Thank You

The option of mediation or arbitration is always available even after you have commenced the divorce proceedings. However it will require the cooperation of both parties. You cannot coerce the other party to participate in mediation or arbitration; It has to be voluntary.
With regard to the question about an order of protection, if the reason for the order of protection was fear of physical abuse, or physical abuse is actually present in the relationship then mediation is probably not the preferred means of resolving your issues.
If you are located in the New York City metropolitan area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss the matter at greater length.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./ Divorce Solutions

Question #79: My question is how can a stay at home mom hire a lawyer for divorce, when her husband controls the money and will the lawyer bill the husband?

If you are unable to pay for your attorney, the court will make your spouse pay
for your attorney as well.
By litigating your divorce you will both have to hire separate attorneys and will be spending a
large portion of your marital estate on legal fees. Divorce mediation is a much better alternative.

If you are living in the NYC metro area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss
mediating your divorce.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #78: I sat down with my attorney and my soon to be ex and her attorney, we finalized our divorce and the papers were drawn up, 8 months ago (April 12, 2007). We both agreed and both left satisfied. But 8 months later she still refuses to sign off. What can I do. She is living with her boyfriend and my children for the last 3 years. I am living with my girlfriend and would love to marry her. But this never ending divorce is starting to stress our relationship ………………Please help……………my attorney tells me one thing and my soon to be ex is telling me something else and I can not afford another attorney to start this process all over again. I had to walk out 5 years ago when she decided to have an affair with a my ex-friend. Thank you.

Unfortunately, when lawyers on opposing sides get together, the process which is difficult enough, gets even harder.
You should try to communicate with her outside the formal meetings with the attorneys in a more calm and relaxed setting and see if she is amenable to mediating whatever outstanding issues remain and to finish it and get on with your lives. Until you have a legal divorce properly prepared and legally binding you are in a state of limbo and even more so, so are your children who are suffering emotionally as a result. For the sake of the children she should be more responsive to resolving the issues still outstanding.

If you are living in the NYC metro area please call me to arrange a meeting to mediate the remaining issues.You will not have to start all over but just continue from where you both left off.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #77: Hope you can help. My wife and I are in individual counseling, not couples counseling (CC). Her counselor feels we have a lot of individual issues to work out before CC. I don’t know what her issues are and her counselor won’t talk to me at all. My issue is anger management which I have been working on for 8 months. My wife claims she doesn’t want a divorce and would like to work things out if possible. My counselor wants me to initate a divorce because he feels she is stalling but he doesn’t know why. My wife and I hardly communicate. My counselor also feels once in court I will find out her true intentions. My question is how successful, in general, are long separations vs short ones? Do the marriages actually end up better or worse? Would a divorce be the wiser course of action?

Before you begin the divorce process , try marriage counseling, even if you are both in individual counseling at the same time. Especially if you have children, you owe it to them and yourselves to try to resolve your relationship issues and keep the marriage together.

If, in the event that the counseling is unsuccessful, I strongly suggest that you contact me at 212-370-1660 to discuss mediating your separation and divorce. It will be much cheaper, faster and less emotionally draining on both of you, and provide you both for the opportunity to try to resolve the separation and divorce issues together.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solution

Question #76: I physically, emotionally and verbally abused my wife six months ago. She left the marital residence three months ago, took out an Order of Protection from me (for six months), found a job, moved into an apartment, and rematriculated our son into another school district. Since, she has been awarded temporary custody of our six year old son and child support. (I have been “indicated” for child abuse, but deny emphatically these allegations my wife has made, which are the only bases for the “indication” – it’s a pretty corrupt process.) I understand her concern about our marriage, her anger at me, and her fear of me (I suffered an Adjustment Disorder six months ago after she stabbed me with a pair of butcher knives). (Although claim that she fears for the life of her and our children is excessive in response to being slapped a few times after “extreme” provocation and instigation – I am not proud of my behavior, but her portrayal of me is ridiculous to the point of comedy.) That being said, after three months, several hearings in family court, support hearings, almost a nervous breakdown on my part, etc… she still has not served me with papers or even purchased an index number with the Clerk’s Office. Is it normal to proceed with a divorce this way, humiliate your spouse in Family Court indefinitely, lie about his parental abilities, grossly exaggerate abuse to the point of delusion, etc… without serving papers and without anything really to gain as custody is not an issue and financial matters are independent of the reasons for divorce (to the extent we are getting divorced yet). Concerning custody, even after my attorney advised my wife’s attorney that I have no reservations about her having custody, she still proceeded to allege child abuse (completely untrue – I am practically father of the decade). So, there is no reason to do what she has as I have no reservations about yielding permanent custody to her. She also has alleged violations of the Order of Protection (interpreting “violation” very liberally). Even after being indicated for child abuse (which has emotionally crippled me as my relationship prior to three months ago was extraordinarily good), being arrested twice and jailed once for “violating” the Order (which also has emotionally crippled me as I have never even had so much as a speeding or parking ticket in my life), yielding custody, and giving in to practically every demand of her and her attorney, my wife still has not served papers. (Although I have rehabilitated my emotional state since she first left me, I was suicidal early on and no-one seems to appreciate the impact of these kind of extreme and false accusations on a person.) Is there a name for this process? Again, I understand her state of mind as I would be pretty pissed off at me too, but I confess to being a little annoyed by the false allegations and the extreme claims like “fearing for her life” and having those entered into public record. Also, the failure to be served yet is puzzling. It seems we could have avoided all the problems of the past few months (at least the problems for me as my wife has been pretty much in Xanadu) if she had just filed for divorce with grounds (that she can prove and to which I have confessed) in Supreme Court. Heck, we could have been divorced by now and although I do not want to get divorced, it would have been easier on me as I would not have to be humiliated and falsely “indicated,” etc… Anyway, my question is what is going on and what should I expect in the future. I’m pretty stressed out, miss my wife and my son (I have only seen him in a limited capacity during supervised visitation). I love my wife passionately and don’t think the problems we have are irreconcilable (although I will always feel pretty ashamed of my behavior), but I also don’t want to confine her to a marriage she does not want (as neither of us will be happy then).

Without having spoken to your spouse, it seems clear from your description of the situation that there are serious problems with your family relationship and that divorce may be unfortunately, the only solution at this point. The question now is whether you are going to enter into a litigated adversarial battle in court or will you both choose to go a more civilized way and resolve your divorce matters through mediation. I cannot overemphasize the benefits of mediating with an experienced, divorce attorney- mediator. These are matters that require experienced counsel , and should not be left to self-help.

If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area, I suggest you call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting between all of us to see if we can mediate your divorce and allow you both to reach some type of understanding to improve your relationship with your son, to work together for the best interests of the child, and to get on with your lives and regain your self-esteem and respect.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solution

Question #75: Hi, I guess I could be one of your horror stories. I’ll try to make my story short. We got married with my husband three years ago and have a beautiful 2-yr old daughter together. My husband comes from a divorced family and so, he acted towards me accordingly – lack of respect, kept me under control, used me literally as a punching bag to practice karate, denied excess to his finances and spent more time with his local Rabbi than he ever did with me. We also lived in terrible conditions, in the mold-infested basement. He refused to move, and only after pleading to his parents and Rabbi, he let me find a new place. Unfortunately, that apartment wasn’t any better – mice, mold, gas leak, 2nd hand smoking, and when the baby came I was terrified and especially upset by the fact that his parents decided we could live there for another 3-4 yrs. Among other issues, my husband showed no remorse and the more I’d get agitated, the more he grew with resentment towards me and set forth on a quest to portray me a bad mother. Oftentimes, I overheard his conversations with his sister and father’s side of the family in my regard; constant lecturing and verbal put-down coming from his step-mother was overbearing. Our intimate life was horrific, as he would simply exploit me for his pleasure while I was crying of pain. He would quietly drive me crazy and asked his sister to come over almost every day to “help”. Not to mention that he would leave to Temple at 5:30 am and come back from Karate and the gym late at night and force me to keep our daughter up till 10 p.m. Sometimes he would scold me for calling while he was on the treadmill that I desperately needed help with the baby. I grew to hate him more each day as his emotional abuse only escalated. He was extremely conniving, whispering something nasty and offensive to me, farting in my face, biting nails and spitting at me. I would scream for him to leave me alone, or call him a name and he would say I did it in front of our daughter, even when she wasn’t there. He called and questioned my friends and family behind my back if they noticed how I’ve changed since the birth of our baby. Meanwhile, I was cooking and cleaning and had his friends and relatives over for Shabbat (with no help from him). He’d still call me crazy and so did his sister. At some point I confronted him that he was just raping me and he got scared that I might report him and later set up a spycam in our bedroom and started taping our conversations. The more he did it while denying he was doing it, the more I just wanted to leave, but nobody would ever believe me and I didn’t have any money for the attorney. Then he went to a social worker(CSW), a member of his community, and told him that I was the one to abuse him sexually. Then he went to some officer and told him that if I call, they should know that I’m crazy and delusional. Then he hired and attorney and after months of torturing me emotionally, served me with papers on the grounds of cruelty. In addition, his Rabbi and the scial worker wrote pretty disgusting letters, that I’m a sinful woman who’s been touching her husband inappropriately and sexually abusing him. Despite everything that happened, I tried to understand that my husband was afraid to loose his license and go to jail, and I had tried to save the marriage for our daughter’s sake and we went to see social worker of his choice. Of course, he didn’t like the fact that she was taking my side, especially when he was the one paying her so much money. I expected genuine love and support, while he just wanted to get rid of me. So we tried mediation, but we couldn’t agree on visitation schedule and the mediator wasn’t really helpful. So he went to seek out a lawyer behind my back but I found out shortly after because she is also a member of the same community, and my husband has been a friend to her husband for quiet some time. So, after he practically kicked me out of the apt, my previous attorney told me to take the baby and run and so I did and, immediately after that we set up visitation schedule. Of course, his attorneys claim that I just packed up and left with our baby unilaterally, (as if my life was so peachy and sweet that one day I decided to make trouble and take off with our daughter). This is just a small part of what they have to lie about to represent their client and make opposing party so miserable. And how fast did she transform from being a friend to the role of his attorney. A friend would probably suggest to treat the mother of your child with respect at least. And so, I left to Brooklyn from Long Island, got a job, rented an apt, and wish I could spend more time with my daughter and can’t wait to have more kids. But do you think my ex is happy that I’m content and confident that I can stand on my feet and that now I’m with my friends and family and don’t have to put up with his family’s abuse? NO! And his lawyers are trying so maliciously make me a crazy woman and to take the baby away from me. You are absolutely right, they helped my husband hate me even more, and he’d refuse to discuss our daughter with me and made my life living hell! And you would think, his lawyer, a religious woman, be compassionate and understanding, or at least investigate what really is going on, but she decided to play it so nasty and what really hurts is that most of the time my husband lies and twists my words or tries to purposely exasperate me while on the phone to see if I loose it and say something that sounds crazy enough to later use as supportive evidence. She also offered mediation and we tried to settle the case, but she and her partner were so mean, cynical and aggressive at the meeting that the only thing I wanted to do is to walk out on them. Right now we have a case pending in court, which was moved from Brooklyn to L.I. and this is only a beginning. At some point I wanted to see justice and proceed with litigation but I didn’t realize how stressful it was going to be and how unfair the system really is. So, definitely, if couples could agree between themselves, they should go for professional mediation. But the big question for me is, when it comes to visitations, how does the mediator really know what’s in the best interest of the child when they don’t evaluate both parents and their interaction with the child? I hope I didn’t bore you with my story, but it’s one out of many that shows how exhasting and overbearing divorce procedure becomes when two people are taught to hate and ignore each other.

With the right mediator, mediation can work even for you and your husband if you

are both willing to think of the best interests of the child instead of yourselves

and are ready to move on with your lives.

Please call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss the matter at greater length.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #74: I am in the middle of divorce proceedings. Frankly, I think it was bad advice on my attorney’s part. This has dragged out almost a year. A Temp. Court Order was issued in Jan ’07. Am I able to stop these divorce proceedings (yes, I started them) and convert our Temporary Court Order into a Legal Separation agreement? My main problem: I am disabled and am fearful if we are divorced, I may not even qualify for my own healthcare. I am currently under his HMO from his job. Thank you.

You can stop the proceedings at any time by formally withdrawing your complaint .

You can then enter into a Separation Agreement with your spouse.

If you are living in the NYC metro area, I strongly suggest you call me at 212-370-1660 to
discuss mediating this matter rather than litigating it in Court. This is too important a matter to leave to self help.
It must be done with experienced legal counsel.

It will be cheaper, quicker, and less traumatic.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #73: My husband and I are seeking a divorce and I would like to know how it works if we would come to you as a mediator. Do we see you together or separately, what are the fees and do you provide a free consultation? I did my research about the divorce itself and our situation is like this: I guess the best grounds that are not severe for us would be constructive abandonment. The custody will be full physical with the mother and shared decision making with flexible visitation rights. My husband has a pension plan from his job, he makes around 52-57k I am now unemployed but will resume working in a month for $18/hour (about 35K). We need to somehow split our 30k dept from which almost 9ooo is for a car that my husband will take. I want him to be responsible for that ammount and share the rest 2/3 to 1/3 due to my lower income. II will need a child support and possibly a spousal support at least for the start. Can the child support be increased in a future if he will be promoted? I will also need to determine how to split the cost of education, summer camps, medical etc for my son. Also I would like to keep my son on his medical insurance and change my last name. I dont know what else to look into, so can you pleaselet me know if youy have a free consultation to discuss this matter further? Thank you for your time.

The mediation process requires that both parties participate together and begin interacting with each other if no longer as husband-and-wife then , as parents of the same children , whom they both love and wish to protect. The meetings would be held in the privacy and comfort of my office, instead of the courtroom corridors, and all the time would be spent on actually dealing with resolving issues in order to get on with your lives instead of sitting around for hours waiting for your 10 minutes before the judge in the cold courtroom.
My fee is $375 per hour and the total fee will be a function of how many hours it takes us to go through all the issues involved , including child custody, child support, spousal support ,division of marital assets, paying off any existing liabilities, and any other issues that are important to you.
I see you have put in much thought into some of the issues that are involved , and to the extent that you and your husband can resolve these issues before the mediation meetings the faster the process will go and the less-expensive it will be. There are however, additional matters you failed to mention that must be discussed , which will be presented during the course of the mediation process.

If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area, I strongly suggest that you call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting for all of us to discuss the matter at greater length. If you and your husband both attend, there is no charge for the initial meeting if you decide not to continue.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./DivorceSolutions

Question #72: Several months ago, my wife asked me for a separation. This was quite a shock to me. I then became aware that my wife was involved in an affair with a married man. When I questioned her about this, she denied it vehemently and stated that she wanted a temporary separation with the hope of an eventual reconciliation. I then documented irrefutably with a licensed private investigator that my wife indeed was involved in an affair. I confronted her with the evidence and, long story short, after several months of marriage counseling, we are headed for a divorce. We have two young children who we have tentatively agreed to “share parent”. Our house will most likely have to be sold. I have suffered enormous emotional trauma as a direct result of the affair, and also enormous financial damage- private investigator bills, attorney fees, and all the expense that will now be involved in maintaining two homes. I am hoping for an amicable resolution to these issues, however, I have three questions: 1. Would “collaborative lawyers” be a good idea for me (my wife wants to go this way)? 2. As far as distribution of marital property, does this documented adultery entitle me to a larger percentage than would normally be the case (or at least reimbursement of such expenses as private investigators)? 3. How successful would a civil suit against the other man potentially be and has this been tried in the past?(I have definite evidence that he plotted with my wife to get me to leave my home before I knew of the affair but I don’t think it would be usable in a New York court). Thank you.

Unfortunately, not all expenses and not all emotional pain can be recompensed by a lawsuit. It is important that you and your spouse sit down and discuss amicably resolving the issues before you in separating and ultimately getting a divorce in a way that will cause the least amount of additional, emotional pain to you and your children, and allow you both to separate with dignity and get on with your lives.

I offer a unique alternative to the adversarial system in that although I am an attorney, I do not represent either side but rather I remain a neutral throughout the process and take you through all of the steps necessary for the separation and divorce, which includes child custody, child support, spousal support, the payment of any outstanding liabilities, and division of marital assets as well as any other issues that may have to be resolved in the marriage. Although the decisions about your children and your property will be made by both you and your spouse as opposed to having a judge imposed upon you and it will be done and the quiet of my office instead of the courtroom corridors. You’ll be paying for one attorney instead of two and not for the time in the courtroom waiting for your ten minutes before the judge.

I am not sure I understand what you mean by “collaborative attorneys” but if you mean each side will have his and her attorney meet together with you to try to resolve the issues, I believe the attorney’s involvement will only make the decision more combative and less likely to succeed in providing either of you with the best resolution of the issues.

I cannot overemphasize the benefits of mediating your divorce as opposed to litigating it, and I strongly suggest that if you live in the New York City metropolitan area you give me a call at 212-36370-1660 to arrange for all three of us to meet together to discuss mediation.

The grounds for the divorce (adultery) should have little or no effect on the distribution of the marital assets and your desire for a civil suit against the individual who had the affair with your wife, although it may provide you with some form of satisfaction, is not realistic and will be very costly and a waste of good money.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions