Online programs such as It’s Over Easy can walk you through a divorce process, but should you really, completely, “do it yourself” (DIY)? You might have gone into the divorce process thinking, “We want a simple divorce.” Then you realize that you and your spouse have issues you didn’t even know you need to resolve. It’s at that point you realize it’s not necessarily going to be “over easy.”
If that describes you, mediation can be a great compliment to your online divorce. Artificial intelligence and its applications can help you move through the divorce process: It can generate a checklist of issues that need to be resolved; it can generate legal forms; it may have built-in tools to help create a parenting plan. But it’s not going to help you come to a thoughtful agreement if there is a dispute between you and your spouse.
Online programs may seem like a good fit for low-conflict and relatively simple divorces. But some issues can be more complicated. A mediator will help you deal with the specific circumstances that you and your spouse are facing now and could face in the future like: “What if I lose my job?” or “What if this changes, or that happens?” There’s only so much the computer can know to ask.
A few meetings with a mediator can help ensure that you have discussed all of the relevant issues and will make sure you have a legally binding Settlement Agreement to file with the rest of the divorce papers that will be generated in the online program.
And speaking of those divorce papers, there are a lot of them to fill out if you’re getting divorced in the New York metropolitan area. Plus, you have to literally go to the courthouse and file them. You can’t just mail them in and you certainly can’t do it online.
First, you have to go to the County Clerk’s office, wait on a line with an application for an index number, get the index number, and pay for that. Then you have to go to the courthouse and file the divorce papers there.
You may think everything’s going well, because you haven’t heard anything. But then two months after you filed, your papers get “bounced back,” as we lawyers and mediators call it. You then have to fix what’s wrong and send the papers back to the clerk or to the judge. The only way to find out if your papers have been signed and entered in the clerk’s office is to send a postcard, literally, with your papers: They mail the postcard back to you. It’s archaic. Getting divorced in New York is definitely not a high-tech process. Having a mediator or attorney to help walk you through the process or actually do it for you, can reduce the stress you’re already feeling.
When you work with us as your mediator or consulting attorney, we will make sure your agreement has addressed all of the issues that are important to you and your spouse, that your divorce papers are properly filled out and, if you like, we will arrange to get those papers filed for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about how our mediation and legal services can complement online divorce, contact us.
Vacca Family Law Group
One Grand Central Place
60 East 42nd Street, Suite 1420
New York, NY 10165