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Divorce Mediation in Manhattan, New York

Strong Advocacy for Divorce Mediation Clients

Divorce mediation is a voluntary process where divorcing couples work together with a trained mediator to negotiate and resolve their differences in a non-adversarial forum. In mediation, no one decides who is right and who is wrong, or who wins and who loses. The mediator merely facilitates communication and helps you to evaluate your options.

Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP features several award-winning divorce mediators, all of whom have been trained by the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals. Contact our office in Manhattan directly to learn more about our experienced mediators.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

For many divorcing couples, mediation is a viable alternative to the financial costs and emotional toll of traditional adversarial legal representation. Sensibly used, mediation provides the opportunity to find fair and realistic solutions to the economic and practical issues facing the family and can also help heal the psychological rift families experience during divorce. Mediation is based on the premise that the people getting divorced are in the best position to make decisions that will have long-term personal and financial consequences on their lives.

In mediation, you and your spouse make decisions together through direct discussion. An impartial mediator helps you clarify and articulate your own perspectives and better understand the perspectives of your spouse, even if you do not always agree with them. The mediator will also help you acquire all the information necessary to make prudent decisions. This includes complete financial disclosure by both parties.

The mediator has no vested interest in the outcome and does not represent either party. Rather, the mediator is committed to ensuring that the process by which each spouse finds their way to an agreement is a fair one. The mediator not only refrains from imposing a solution upon you – that, after all, is what an arbitrator does – but also will not presume to advise you what you "should" do.

Why Should You Choose Us for Your Divorce Mediation?

When you hire a mediator, you should not place your trust in just anyone. There are many sensitive issues that are brought to the mediation table, which may raise emotions that can affect the process if it is not properly managed. That is why retaining a divorce attorney with training focused on mediation is paramount to a successful outcome.

You need a facilitator who is results-focused while maintaining empathy for what each participant is experiencing. Our mediators recognize and acknowledge the emotions a party may be feeling that can often stall discussions. The training our mediators engage in allows them to help a conflicted party move past the hurdle to continue productive communication.

How Do Our Experienced New York Mediation Attorneys Simplify the Process?

When parties consider a mediated divorce, they may feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to resolve too many issues in a single day with a spouse they perceive to be unreasonable. It can seem like an insurmountable task.

The good news is that mediation can be tailored to the goals of each set of participants. If you both believe that dividing up the decisions to be made among multiple sessions is more manageable and likely to yield better results, you have that option.

What Should Parties Expect During a Mediation?

While participants, facts, and issues change, the mediation process follows a simple format with fewer moving parts. This makes for a lower stress experience than entering the unknown of litigation, which can be full of surprises.

The general steps you can expect in mediation are:

  • Introductory remarks. This is where your mediator makes an opening statement that includes establishing ground rules and explaining how he or she will conduct the session.
  • Participant statements. During this stage you and your co-participant will each have an uninterrupted turn to briefly explain his or her side of the dispute, which allows the mediator to get a clearer picture of the issues to be settled.
  • Information gathering. Your mediator will ask you questions and summarize your responses to home in on specific issues that participants themselves may not realize exist through their frustration or pain. This technique also allows your mediator to pinpoint any common ground shared by you and your spouse that neither of you realized you had.
  • Bargaining. Mediation is a give and take based upon what is most important to each participant. What you believed to be at the top of your list when you walked into the room may change as your mediator gets further into discussions with each of you, making it easier to resolve other issues.
  • Agreement. Once you have resolved all the issues brought to the table, our attorneys will draft a separation agreement to be signed by each of you and notarized. At that point it becomes a legally binding contract that will ultimately be filed in court and incorporated into your divorce judgment.

Mediation may occur at comfortable locations that are mutually agreeable to both parties, including in our Westchester litigation office. The process may also be conducted with parties in the same room or each in separate rooms with the mediator shuffling back and forth based upon which method will be most productive.

What Role Do Lawyers Play in a NYC Mediation?

Choosing mediation does not mean forsaking hiring a lawyer of your own. Although mediation participants often do not bring an attorney to the session itself, mediation participants usually consult with an attorney before and between sessions. Other couples may choose to wait until a separation agreement has been drafted and hire an attorney to review it. Again, as with everything else in mediation, this is their decision to make.

Some parties will not feel confident entering mediation without receiving experienced feedback as to what a reasonable settlement might look like. It may be helpful to consult a family law attorney who will be able to realistically manage their expectations, which can lend itself to a smoother process.

A lawyer is just one of several professionals a mediation participant may consult in making a prudent decision. Participants may consult with accountants, financial planners, child psychologists or anyone else who can help clarify important issues.

What Does It Take to Succeed in Mediation?

You must be able to engage each other on a roughly equal basis, have the capacity both to agree with each other and to disagree with each other, and feel that your emotional state is such that you are up to the task of negotiating for yourself. For those who do not meet these “tests,” collaborative divorce or negotiation may be the more appropriate process choice.

Skillful, Experienced, and Effective Mediation Attorneys

At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, we can represent you individually as your outside attorney to the mediation process, or we can provide you and your spouse with a neutral, impartial mediator while you both retain other counsel to represent you individually. Contact our office or call 212.867.9123 to set up a consultation. Proudly serving Manhattan, Westchester, and Bergen County, New Jersey.