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If a divorce or separation agreement is reached in mediation, can one party decide that they don't like the terms a month later?

Q: Married 11 months... with one 1 year old child. I am retired 4 years with only my pension, no other income. My pension, house and anything else is mine before I even knew her. We only share a bank acct that I keep $1000 in. Her name is on nothing. She currently does NOT work. Given these circumstances, we agree to share custody, agree to a child support amount payable by me, and agree that there is no marital estate to argue over... what is the best course of action... a divorce mediator? A separation agreement? Also, how long does spousal maintenance usually last? She is 28 and has a 4 year college degree, and in good health. From what I understand, we need to be legally separated for 1 year in order to be granted a divorce, but what happens if she signs an agreement tomorrow and 3 moths later wants to contest something?

A: David's Answer: One can always change one's mind unless & until the agreement is actually executed by the parties before a notary public. Mediation works in the majority of cases - though it's still advisable to have your own attorney to run things by & make sure what's being proposed in mediation is a "good deal" for you. That said, in most cases there's no real need anymore (unless maintenance of medical insurance is an issue) to do a separation agreement first rather than proceed straight to the divorce. Schedule a consult with a NYC Divorce attorney for a full assessment. -- David Bliven, Bronx Divorce Attorney, (www.Blivenlaw.net)

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