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Divorce Mediation

Mediation Process in New City, NYDivorce Mediation is a sensible alternative to a traditionally litigated courtroom battle. It is a confidential, voluntary process whereby both spouses negotiate their Agreement together with a neutral mediator in a non-threatening environment. In the state of New York, spouses have no need to enter into a courtroom. All mediation sessions take place in private offices.

Law & Mediation, PLLC generally utilizes a co-mediation team in its divorce and family mediation cases. Co-mediation involves having two mediators work together as a team. Some of the advantages of this approach include: the mediation team can better represent participants’ diverse characteristics, a participant has a better chance of feeling a sense of trust with at least one of the two mediators, the participants have the advantage of the combined skills of two mediators. For Law & Mediation, this co-mediation style means that there will be both a male and female mediator in the mediation session with the participants having different but complimentary professional backgrounds.  The reasoning behind this is that in general males and females can hear and react to things differently and this also “balances” the room removing any possibility of either party feeling any gender bias or one party or the other feeling that an alliance has been struck with a particular mediator.

This co-mediation team guides the couple through the decision making process, assisting many families in resolving disputes and reaching amicable agreements with regard to the division of marital assets and debts,  financial support, and when applicable children’s living arrangements considering the children’s best interests. The motivation behind mediation is to offer couples control and flexibility over decisions that can have a huge impact on them, their future and especially their children. The needs of each person are carefully considered and the final agreement reflects these needs, interests and desires as much as possible.

Sessions, on average, last 1 ½ to 2 hours. After reaching an Agreement, the mediator writes up the Agreement in draft form and reviews it with the spouses prior to giving each spouse a final copy. Each party is free, and encouraged, to retain an attorney’s advice, before, during and after the mediation process. The Agreement is binding on both parties once it is signed. Thereafter it is submitted to a Court of law. The parties have the option of living pursuant to this Agreement or filing an action for uncontested divorce. By creating their own Agreement, couples are more likely to comply with its terms. Statistics show that compliance with mediated Agreements is higher than with court imposed judgments because it is voluntary and based upon mutual satisfaction not by what a Judge perceives as the best interests of the divorcing couple.

Divorce mediation is not psychotherapy, marital counseling, or legal representation. Mediators with backgrounds in law or mental health (or other areas) do not represent or counsel mediation clients during the family mediation process, but rather serve as neutral facilitators of the decision-making process.

Law & Mediation, PLLC offers a free initial half-hour consultation to discuss the aspects and analyze the needs of your particular case. This meeting will also serve as an opportunity to answer any of your questions and to explain the mediation process. If after the consultation both parties wish to begin mediation they may schedule a session to meet together with the mediator. There may also be individual sessions (caucus sessions) with the mediator when appropriate.

Skeptics of the divorce mediation process typically ask how it is possible for two angry spouses to negotiate with one another. The answer is simple: mediators are trained to help the couple focus on their plans for the future, while helping them separate the emotional issues from their financial decisions. Even the most furious of couples can reach an agreement through mediation.

There are many reasons why couples choose mediation instead of litigation. Mediation is less expensive, quicker and less traumatic on the couple and their children. The mediation process in total may cost the “couple” between $3,000 and $10,000, while traditional litigation can individually cost “each spouse” $20,000 to $100,000. Mediation sessions are scheduled at a couple’s convenience accommodating work schedules, offering early morning, evening and weekend hours, and considering each spouse’s financial and emotional needs. In litigation couples schedules are influenced by frequent delays and legal requirements caused by busy Court dockets and Court processes. These delays increase costs, waste time, and create unnecessary stress and anxiety on all members of the divorcing family.

The needs of the children are often overlooked in the chaos of a divorce. Consequently, children may be left to fend for themselves because a parent is depressed or emotionally unavailable. Some children become the scapegoat for their parents’ emotional turmoil, while others may actually be forced to assume parental roles. Even worse, children may be used “as spies” to gather information for a parent. In many cases, the children are being manipulated and left with life – long scars. The children often blame themselves for the break-up, feeling enormous guilt and developing irrational fears of loss or rejection.

Mediators, help educate the divorcing couples on how not to place their children in the middle or use them as pawns or prizes. Couples who choose mediation instead of litigation do so, in many instances, not for themselves but for their children. When children are involved, one of the primary goals of mediation is to focus on what is best and least disruptive for them. More importantly, mediation enables the parents to control the decision-making process, using their values and belief systems, rather than have these personal decisions imposed upon them by a Court of law.

* In order to assist mediation clients who are representing themselves, our comprehensive divorce service includes the preparation and filing of the legal paperwork necessary to obtain a final judgment of dissolution of marriage, including a written Separation Agreement or Stipulation of Settlement. Law & Mediation, PLLC does not provide legal representation to its mediation clients, but encourages each party to consult with an independent legal representative.