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Litigation. Collaborative Law. Mediation.
LONG ISLAND Mediation ATTORNEYS Our firm is one of the largest matrimonial law firms in New York City that offers all three ways to divorce. Let us help you choose the best option for you and your family.

Long Island Mediation Attorneys

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method where a trained neutral third party (the mediator) facilitates negotiation between two disputing spouses in order to guide them toward a resolution of their conflicts. Mediation focuses primarily on the needs, rights, and interests of the separating spouses, and the mediator will use a wide variety of techniques to promote productive communication and negotiation so spouses can reach an agreement on their separation without going to court. Note that the mediator does not have any decision-making authority, and they only exist to foster the discussion and write up the terms the parties have agreed on.

The goal of mediation is for parties to voluntarily settle their dispute, and a successful mediation process will result in a settlement agreement written by the mediator based on the spouses’ discussions and sent to the judge for approval. Mediators are trained to work in difficult, tense situations, so parties can count on them to help them think outside the box and broaden the range of possible solutions that a court might otherwise not be as creative with. After all, trial will likely result in a default decision by the judge that will not allow for as much personal interest negotiation as mediation might.

What is the Role of a Mediator?

The mediator acts as a neutral third party, facilitating communication and negotiation between divorcing parties. They don't advocate for either side but instead, help the parties reach mutually acceptable agreements, empowering the parties to make their own decisions rather than having a judge impose decisions through litigation.

Mediators are trained in conflict resolution techniques, assisting parties in managing emotions and finding common ground. They aim to reduce hostility and create an environment conducive to productive discussions.

Mediators may provide information about relevant legal processes, helping parties understand the implications of various decisions without taking sides. They guide the parties through the mediation process, explaining each stage and helping them navigate complex legal and emotional issues.

Mediators also assist in drafting agreements, such as the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), outlining the terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties. They work to ensure that the final agreements are fair and meet the needs of both parties and, when applicable, the best interests of children.

The following are several parties who may qualify as mediators:

  • Professional Mediators: Individuals with specific training and certification in mediation, often specializing in family law matters.
  • Attorneys with Mediation Training: Some attorneys specialize in family law mediation, combining legal knowledge with mediation skills to help divorcing couples.
  • Psychologists or Therapists: Mental health professionals may act as mediators, particularly when emotional or psychological issues are central to the dispute.
  • Retired Judges: Former judges, especially those with experience in family law, may offer their services as mediators to help parties reach agreements outside the courtroom.
  • Financial Professionals: Mediators with a background in finance or accounting can be beneficial in cases involving complex financial issues such as property division, spousal support, and child support.
  • Community Mediators: Some community-based organizations provide mediation services, often with individuals trained in conflict resolution and family law.
  • Collaborative Law Professionals: Collaborative law practitioners, including attorneys and other professionals, may act as mediators in the collaborative divorce process.
  • Court-Appointed Mediators: In some cases, the court may appoint a mediator to help parties resolve disputes, especially when seeking alternatives to traditional litigation.

The Mediation Process in New York

Couples meet with a mediator to discuss their situation and decide if mediation is suitable for them. The mediator explains their role, the process, and any legal obligations.

Here is an overview of the mediation sessions:

  1. Identification of Issues:
  • Comprehensive Assessment: The mediator initiates by understanding the specific concerns and conflicts faced by the parties.
  • List and Prioritize: All pertinent issues, such as child custody, visitation schedules, asset division, and financial support, are identified and prioritized for discussion.
  • Clarification: The mediator ensures each party understands the issues at hand and their implications on the overall agreement.
  1. Discussion and Negotiation:
  • Facilitated Dialogue: The mediator guides the conversation, ensuring both parties have the opportunity to express their viewpoints, concerns, and desires regarding each issue.
  • Conflict Resolution Techniques: Mediators employ various techniques to foster constructive dialogue, encourage active listening, and manage emotions to keep discussions focused and productive.
  • Fairness and Equity: The mediator helps balance the negotiation process, ensuring neither party dominates and both have equal opportunities to voice their needs.
  • Generating Options:
  • Brainstorming and Creativity: The mediator encourages creative exploration of potential solutions, often by offering suggestions and alternatives to help parties consider unconventional yet mutually beneficial options.
  • Evaluating Viability: Each proposed solution is evaluated for feasibility, fairness, and legality, ensuring it aligns with the law and addresses the underlying concerns of both parties.
  1. Reaching Agreements:
  • Documenting Agreements: Once mutual agreements are reached on all issues, the mediator assists in drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
  • Clear and Detailed: The MOU outlines the agreed-upon terms and conditions, specifying each party's responsibilities and rights regarding child custody, support, property division, etc.
  • Non-Binding Nature: While the MOU is not legally binding, it serves as the basis for the final legally binding agreement.

Each party is encouraged to have their attorney review the MOU to ensure it accurately reflects their intentions and protects their legal rights. Attorneys may suggest modifications or clarifications to the MOU based on their client's best interests or legal considerations.

Once both parties and their attorneys approve the MOU, it can be submitted to the court for approval. Upon court approval, the MOU becomes part of the final divorce decree, legally binding both parties to its terms.

Benefits of Mediation

With the above in mind, there are several benefits to pursuing mediation. In particular, if both spouses are willing to cooperate and communicate, they should consider settling their dispute in mediation rather than going immediately to trial, as they can retain significant decision-making authority in mediation. Whereas in the courtroom they may have some time to explain their side before the judge makes the decision, in mediation both spouses can openly discuss with each other to negotiate the terms of their agreement without someone else making the final call. As a result, mediation allows parties to be more creative and come up with solutions that are better suited to what they need than what might be ordered in a courtroom. This is also a reason mediated agreements are usually stronger – parties construct their own terms, so they are more likely to comply. 

Spouses may also save money by settling their divorce in mediation. Litigation is costly, and the mediation process generally takes less time than moving a case through court. The parties will also split the cost of the mediator between them.

Another benefit to mediation is confidentiality. Court hearings are public, but mediation remains strictly confidential. This means no one other than the parties themselves will know what’s happening, whereas a trial may put the matter on public display and even discourage the communication of certain interests.

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What Sets Us Apart From The Rest?

Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein is here to help you get the results you need with a team you can trust.


    We are one of the only Manhattan divorce law firms offering all three options for divorce: litigation/negotiation, collaborative law, and mediation - providing custom strategies and solutions for our clients.


    All families and marriages are unique - our attorneys take the time to listen to our clients to fully understand the circumstances of their case. Only then do we advise the best legal option for their goals.


    Divorce is a time of transition. We understand the emotional and financial stress that clients experience during the divorce process – from day one our team ensures that we provide our clients with prompt feedback so that they are updated on their case every step of the way.


    Our attorneys provide frequent expert legal commentary for national media outlets and have been quoted in numerous publications including Fox's Business, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and many more.

Reach Out Today

If you are currently in the process of settling your divorce, contact our Long Island firm for support in your mediation process. We specialize in mediation and can provide effective and professional legal guidance in the negotiation room. We will do our best to help you and your spouse reach a favorable outcome that addresses both of your needs in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

Contact our team online or at (516) 614-4104 to get started.

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