What is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is both a voluntary and a collaborative process. During mediation sessions, we work with you to reach meaningful resolutions to each aspect of your conflict. As your mediators, we will help you understand and analyze the options you face at each step of the negotiation process. The ultimate settlement is based on full information and a mutual understanding of your needs and interests.
In divorce mediation, we work with you to analyze your complete financial picture, including your actual monthly and annual budgets, in order to help you come to a sound financial agreement. This may include, how you characterize and divide your marital assets as well as any debt you may have, and how you will meet your financial obligations going forward.
With regard to parenting arrangements, the goal is to help you craft a structure, unique to your family, that allows each of you to develop and nurture your role as a parent. The specific agreement you negotiate may include major decisions regarding how the children are raised, when they spend time with each of you as well as how they will be supported financially.
How Does the Mediation Process Work?
We meet with both of you together, for a series of sessions, each of which lasts two hours and the number of which varies from family to family. In our practice, we use a co-mediation model, meaning you have the benefit of two mediators working with you at all times. Additionally, we ensure that every aspect of a legally binding divorce agreement is discussed and finalized during the process. We, at Family Mediation, are attorneys, who are also available to draft a legally binding agreement that reflects the decisions you reach together in mediation.
Where are the Sessions?
Family Mediation has the flexibility to meet with you in our Manhattan or Westchester location. In Manhattan, our office is near Grand Central Terminal, easily accessible by subway, from all areas of New York City. In Westchester, we meet in downtown White Plains, convenient to all major highways and walking distance to White Plains Metro North.
What is the Role of the Mediators?
Throughout, we work as neutral and non-coercive facilitators to help you arrive at decisions that work for both of you. We take an active role listening to each of your needs and interests, helping you analyze and generate ideas for going forward. However, the ultimate decisions are yours to make together. It is our goal to assist you in arriving at a settlement that reflects the interests and needs you articulate during the sessions.
Is Mediation Right for Us?
Mediation is an alternative to litigation for people who are motivated to negotiate the terms of their separation agreement and divorce in a timely and cost effective manner. It is a structured and goal oriented process. It is also an attractive means of resolution for those who would like the opportunity to craft personalized terms of their settlement. Divorce mediation is not limited to couples who get along well. Rather it is often a very helpful process, even in high conflict circumstances. Mediation allows you to think through your priorities and options for each aspect of the decisions you face. Because most people mediate without an advocate (personal attorney) in the room, mediation is a particularly cost-effective process. Moreover, the timing of the process reflects your schedules rather than a court’s calendar.
In order to participate, you each need to be able to express your point of view, understand the choices you face and speak up for yourself in the mediation sessions. Where there is an imbalance of information or understanding, we strive to re-set the balance so that you are each making informed choices that you’ve had time to reflect upon. Sometimes decisions, particularly financial ones, can be complex. To that end, we may encourage you to engage outside experts, such as financial professionals, for additional support and information. Other times, outside experts such as therapists or divorce coaches may provide help with emotional aspects of divorce, such as how to help you and your children adjust. We are available throughout the process to provide referrals for outside experts as needed.
What is the Role of the Law in Mediation?
It is our philosophy that the law is a point of reference throughout the entire process. In order for any agreement to be long-lasting and enforceable, it must comply with New York State Law. Additionally, actual attorney review, prior to signing an agreement, ensures full knowledge and enforceability of mediated settlements. Within that legal framework, mediation provides the space to craft highly individualized agreements, that reflect your understanding of the conflict and your hopes for your future.