Mediation: An Overview
Long Island Divorce Attorney
If you are planning on obtaining a divorce or legal separation then our trained divorce mediators can offer you an alternative to the traditional divorce path that can save you and your spouse both time and money. The main advantage of mediation is that it keeps you and your spouse in control of your own divorce or legal separation. Mediation allows the two of you to get through the divorce process with less conflict then you would experience in an adversarial divorce process.
At the Meyers Law Group, PC, we believe that the advantages of resolving a divorce or other family law issue through mediation are clear and numerous. Most important are the emotional and financial benefits. Divorce mediation settlements can end amicably, without the rancor that may follow with
divorce litigation. Mediation serves to bring the couple together for decision-making, rather than increasing hostility through fighting in court. It is far less costly than litigation, as well.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce Mediation is a comprehensive process facilitated by a skilled divorce mediator that brings you and your spouse together to decide for yourselves, issues relating to the dissolution of your marriage, child custody,
child support, spousal
equitable distribution and ancillary issues that are memorialized in a final binding agreement that will govern the terms of your divorce or legal separation. Usually the mediator prepares the binding agreement unless both parties have their own attorneys.
Mediation works when you and your spouse want to resolve your marital issues without the expense of litigation but most importantly it works when you and your spouse believe that you can work together with a mediator. Each spouse must be able to articulate what they need and want to get on with their lives. The ultimate decision-making authority in the process rests with the parties. The mediator does not make decisions for the parties and a mediator will not tell the parties what the end result should be. The mediator is there to outline the issues for the parties and help them arrive at their own decisions on those issues.
Mediation is voluntary and continues only as long as you and your spouse want it to. You and your spouse can withdraw from mediation at any time. It has been found that when the parties have gone through the process of mediation and are the authors of their own settlement, the settlements are lasting and effective.
The Cost of Mediation
Mediation is almost always far less expensive than litigation. Compare the cost of mediation with the cost of litigation in New York, which almost always involves an up-front retainer fee for each party's counsel, often $5,000 to $7,000 per attorney. Our firm charges a flat fee for up to 10 sessions each lasting 1 hour so our clients will not have any financial pressure to complete the mediation process in a finite number of sessions. The goal of mediation is for each spouse to fully accept, understand and stand behind the Agreement. Neither spouse should feel rushed into making decisions that will affect them and their family's future.
The divorce mediation process can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year. The length of the process depends upon the difficulty of the issues presented and the ability of the parties to reach agreements. One of the ground rules for mediation is that each party must fully disclose all financial information to the other. The parties are asked to provide copies of documents such as bank statements, pension information, tax information, mortgage statements etc. Depending upon how readily available this information is can extend the mediation process.
Do we need a Long Island divorce lawyer?
The divorce mediator is a neutral party and cannot advocate on behalf of either party. The divorce mediator can only articulate the law, not how it affects one party or the other. When divorce mediation is used, an agreement is reached on all issues usually within two to three months and after approximately 5-6 mediation sessions. Despite one spouse's animosity, an equitable agreement still can be reached through the divorce mediator's skill and knowledge of the process. The trained divorce mediator works with the couple to facilitate cooperation, respect and open negotiations.
Divorce Mediation works even when the couple retains private attorneys. We also recommend, and sometimes require, that you have your final Agreement reviewed and explained by separate counsel. Other professionals, such as forensic accountants, real estate appraisers, accountants and other experts can be utilized if the case warrants their involvement.
Divorce Mediation is a viable, fast growing alternative to litigation. The results of the divorce mediation process produce a plan for parenting, custody, child support and spousal support and addresses all aspects of property and equitable distribution. The results work because the parties have custom tailored their agreement to meet their needs and the needs of their families.