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Divorce Mediation in Manhattan, New York

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.

A Mediation Primer

For many divorcing couples, mediation has become 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 also helps to heal the psychological rift.  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 don’t always agree with them. The mediator will also help you acquire all the information necessary to make prudent decisions. This includes complete financial disclosure.

The mediator has no vested interest in the outcome but is committed to ensuring that the process by which each of you finds your own 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.

A more apt term for "divorce mediation" would be "separation agreement mediation.” When a couple is in the process of divorce, they need to make important decisions about, among other things, future parenting arrangements, child support, property distribution, and spousal maintenance. Once you have resolved all the issues, our attorneys will draft a separation agreement. When signed by both of you, and notarized, it becomes a legally-binding contract. That agreement is ultimately filed in court and is incorporated in the divorce judgment.

Role of Lawyers in 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, each may wish to consult with an attorney before or between sessions. Many couples prefer not to do so until they are ready to sign the separation agreement. At that stage either party may wish to retain independent counsel to review a preliminary draft of the agreement. Again, as with everything else in mediation, this is their decision to make.

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

What it takes 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, believe that the legal and economic issues raised by the divorce are not too complex to tackle on you own, 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 Practice is 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 to set up a consultation.

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