The end of a marriage can be stressful and complicated, both for the spouses and for their families. For couples whose decision to divorce is mutual, mediation offers parties an opportunity to costly, time-consuming litigation. It allows both parties to address their concerns in a practical manner, including questions such as:
- How will the marital assets be divided?
- Who will receive primary custody of the children?
- How will ownership in a family business be addressed?
- Who will receive or pay alimony?
- How will child support be assessed for couples whose combined income exceeds $154,000?
If you are able to settle your case through mediation, a formal agreement will be drawn up for approval by a judge.
How does mediation work?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It allows parties to come together in an attempt to settle their differences in a calm environment. Through the use of a neutral mediator who is trained to handle high conflict situations, parties are often able to “look part” the emotional turmoil to find a fair solution for both people.
Mediation will take place on a mutually agreeable date and can be located in the office of the mediator or one of your attorneys. Depending upon the level of conflict between you and your spouse, there are two ways to handle the negotiation. You both may sit in the same conference room with your attorneys and the mediator present, or you can each remain in separate rooms with your respective attorneys with the mediator shuttling back and forth between you.
What is the mediator’s role in a NYC divorce?
The mediator’s role is to assess which issues are more important to each party and help them to see avenues for compromise to best meet their goals. Mediators are neither arbiters nor lawyers; they do not compel you to follow their decisions, nor do they advise either party about what to do. They facilitate the conversation, help parties articulate their needs, and ensure that both parties have the information they need to make good decisions.
A successful mediation is like any other negotiation: neither party walks away with everything they want, but both parties should feel the outcome was fair.
Advantages to mediation
- Greater control over the outcome. Many couples are so focused on the fight that they forget that a judge may have the final say over what happens in the divorce. That gives total control over the outcome to a stranger who doesn’t know you, your spouse, your children, or what’s important to you. Mediation places the decisions back into the hands of the parties seeking a divorce, offering greater control over how their life will be divided.
- Greater levels of efficiency. Not every mediation will prove successful, but even a “partial” solution is better than none. If both parties can agree on most (or at least some) grounds, the litigation portion will be far less costly and time-consuming. It also shows a judge that you have made progress on working out your differences.
- Maintaining privacy. The longer a divorce takes, and the more contentious it becomes, the harder it is to maintain one’s privacy. All discussions are confidential, unlike those had in a courtroom setting.
- Reducing costs. Litigation can be very expensive. A successful mediation will reduce the costs to both parties, especially because the spouses decide how often to meet, and can choose to split the costs of any outside experts (like financial planners or child specialists).
- More strategic planning. Mediation provides a strategic glimpse into what’s most important to each party. This can eliminate some contention from the start. If the mediation fails, your attorney knows where to focus his or her energy during trial preparation.
Mediation is incredibly helpful if you fully engage in the process and allow it to work. You cannot control how your spouse will respond to negotiations, but with the right mediator, you could be given the chance to make a quick and dignified exit from your marriage. You both deserve the ability to move on and a chance to remain amicable.
The esteemed New York City and Westchester matrimonial and divorce law firm of Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP uses our vast legal experience to lead our clients to decisions that are in their best interest based on their unique situations. Serving discerning clients throughout the greater New York City area with offices in White Plains, Manhattan, and Hackensack, NJ. To schedule a consultation, call 212-867-9123 or reach out to us through our contact form today.