Alternative Dispute Resolution and Divorce: During the COVID-19 crisis, Is It Right for You?

Technology has been changing the landscape of how attorneys do business for a long time. As electronic communications become more and more secure, and clients have less time to travel back and forth for meetings or court proceedings, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods allow increased freedom for divorce solutions.

During the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic, courtrooms closed statewide for all civil matters other than emergency hearings. As the city, state, and country slowly begins opening, New York City courts may be backlogged with hearings and court appearances pushed off from before the shutdown, as well as pending motions. you and your spouse are considering divorce at this time, and are both hoping to reach a resolution quickly, there are out of court options that may be the right fit for you and your spouse.

With the right attorneys and a true desire to reach a resolution without going to court, most divorces, unless highly complex or contentious, can be resolved out of court. With the majority of court proceedings delayed at this time, utilizing any type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to negotiate your divorce settlement can be both effective and financially efficient.

Mediation is one popular form of ADR spouses may use during the divorce process. Mediation provides a method for divorcing couples to work together, with the assistance of a neutral mediator, to negotiate mutually advantageous solutions to their disputes. The process differs from litigation in several ways:

  • Spouses work together rather than against each other
  • Each spouse has their own attorney
  • Mediation is private and confidential
  • Negotiations occur with the assistance of a trained mediator

Through mediation, you and your spouse can negotiate the important decisions regarding the end of your marriage, including child supportchild custodyspousal maintenance, and property division. Although you do not bring an attorney of your own to mediation, it is highly recommended you consult with one beforehand in order to go in prepared and informed as well as during the mediation process.

One of the biggest advantages of mediation, however, is also its most limiting factor – it works only for couples who are willing to cooperate to resolve their disputes. If you and your spouse are unable to come to agreement during the mediation process, your case will move to litigation and eventually court if a settlement cannot be reached.

Another method of ADR that allows you to stay out of court is collaborative divorce. This process removes litigation as an option, and if the process fails, you and your spouse must hire new counsel if you decide to go to court.

Whatever form of alternative dispute resolution works for your specific needs, the matrimonial law attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, LLP can help. With secure and safe technology, we can discuss your circumstances without you having to visit our offices if you are unable to do so. Our firm offers a variety of services to clients in New York City, Westchester, and Hackensack, New Jersey. Schedule your consultation today by calling (212) 466-6015 or reaching out to us through our contact form.

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