Divorce is an emotional and overwhelming time. Couples who do not agree on all terms of their divorce might think that taking the case to court is their only option. Divorce mediation is an alternative to litigation that can resolve disputes and lead to a divorce agreement negotiated by the spouses.
Couples who can still communicate and be in the same room are better suited to talk through the issues in mediation. Marriages with an imbalance of power or a history of domestic abuse typically should not use mediation.
New York divorce mediation has five basic stages:
- Information gathering (children, finances, property)
- Establish the needs and wants of each spouse
- Consider settlement options
- Draft tentative settlement agreement
Mediation Can Be Faster Than Litigation
Divorce cases are heard in Supreme Court. Don’t let the name fool you. This Supreme Court is the statewide trial court that hears both criminal and civil matters. (The highest court in the state is the Court of Appeals.)
Litigation can set the stage for a higher level of antagonism – a “me vs. you” stance. As the intensity increases between the parties, they sometimes begin to fight over areas on which they previously agreed. In addition, packed court dockets can cause divorce proceedings to be dragged out longer.
Mediation aims to be a de-escalating environment. Less stress helps spouses work together more efficiently and effectively, saving time. Mediation sessions are scheduled at the convenience of the two parties and the mediator, which is a faster timetable than court.
Mediation Is Private
Mediation is private. This aspect is important to public figures, high-net-worth couples, and anyone else who values protecting personal information. The mediator may not reveal anything either party says or presents in the sessions. Limited exceptions include allegations of child abuse and credible threats of harm.
Mediated Agreements Have Better Compliance
When a couple comes to a mutual agreement through mediation, each party is more likely to remain in compliance with the terms of the divorce decree.
Mediation can resolve outstanding divorce matters:
- Equitable division of property
- Debt distribution
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
Successful mediation also sets the stage for effective co-parenting and productive communication between former spouses.
Spouses Have the Final Say
In the courtroom, both spouses argue their sides and a judge makes the final decision. In mediation, the two people remain in control of the outcome. The mediator does not serve as a quasi-judge. They are a neutral third party trained to guide the conversation and enable the two parties to work together. They can suggest options and alternatives, but they do not make determinations or coerce or force the parties to accept terms. The mediator drafts a temporary agreement based on what was discussed in the sessions. Once both sides agree, the agreement is signed and presented to a judge.
Options if Mediation Fails
Sometimes, even with honest and consistent effort, mediation does not work. If an agreement cannot be reached, the parties retain the right to take their case to court. A judge will make the final decision about unresolved divorce matters.
Mediation Services for New York Divorces
The divorce mediation attorneys at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, can serve as the neutral mediator or be your legal counsel through the mediation process. We focus on finding pragmatic solutions that work for you and your family.
Decide if mediation is right for your divorce in a confidential consultation. Schedule by calling (845) 605-4330 or sending us a message online.
Want more helpful information about divorce? Listen to our podcast Divorce Stories, available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and more.