Through this cooperative environment couples negotiate their own agreement and, in the process, develop the necessary tools for resolving future differences. Conflict can result in the productive airing of differences and can lead to creative solutions that address the changing needs of all family members.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a family-centered process in which an impartial third party meets with a couple in conflict to help them reach a mutual and informed agreement for the terms of their separation, divorce, or family dispute. Mediation acknowledges that these disputes have two main elements to address: the emotional one as well as the legal one. It therefore provides a safe setting for parties to communicate their needs and interests with each other while focusing on principled problem solving such as fairness, self-determination, and the best interests of all family members.
How is Mediation Different from a Traditional Divorce or Family Court Dispute?
In a traditional divorce parties rely on attorneys to help define their needs and expectations based on the attorney’s understanding and application of the law. Even without going to trial, the traditional divorce process is often inherently adversarial with both parties assuming positions and strategies advocated by their attorneys. Mediation is an informal process in which the parties themselves are in control and empowered to make their own decisions. Mediation seeks to reduce the tension and trauma of these conflicts, not increase it. This enables couples to achieve a sense of wholeness after the emotional and financial chaos of terminating their marriage or settling their custody/support matters. Mediation does not require each spouse to view the other as an adversary. Instead, the mediator helps the couple work together to find the best way of resolving their disputes. Hostile feelings are reduced so that individuals can better adjust to the separation or divorce and plan for the future.
- Promotes communication and cooperation.
- Allows the parties to retain control over the decisions that affect their lives.
- Provides opportunity to define and address all the particular interests and needs of everyone involved.
- Helps the children win as well, as they see their parents working together for their interests and future.
- Costs significantly less than litigation.
- Takes less time than litigation, enabling couples to sooner move ahead with their own lives.
- Focuses on the future.
- Explores creative options independent of legal parameters.
- Research shows that compliance and satisfaction with mediated agreements is higher than when terms are imposed by a court, resulting in less post-divorce litigation.
If We Can’t Communicate, Can We Mediate?
Yes. This is exactly the place for a mediator. Through mediation, parties are encouraged to avoid past patterns and “getting stuck” in what went wrong in the past. Instead parties focus on what they want in the future, for themselves, and their children. Mediators help couples shift into new and productive way of communicating and problem solving, even while they are working towards their divorce.
What is the Time and Cost?
Moderate fees are based on hourly rates and payable after each session. There is no up-front retainer. Mediation takes significantly less time than litigation and because both parties pay one mediator instead of two advocates, the total cost will be substantially less than hiring separate advocates in an adversarial process. A typical comprehensive mediated divorce takes 4-5 sessions, whereas a litigated divorce may take years.
Will I Need an Attorney?
Attorneys can help their clients understand the law and make informed decisions. It is recommended that at some point before the final mediation agreement is signed, each party consults an independent attorney to review the mediated agreement.
How Does Mediation Work?
After a discussion to understand the mediation process, the couple, with the help of the mediator, begins by discussing each spouse’s concerns and interests. They gather any necessary information and determine criteria for making decisions. Step by step, the couple, having a chance to be fully heard, and to listen to each other, decides on the type of agreement they seek. The goal is to find a “win-win” result; a comprehensive settlement that is good for both parties and their children.
Matters Typically Decided in Mediation Include:
- Parenting Arrangements
- Child Support
- Property Distribution
- Debt Allocation
- Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
- Tax Considerations
Sounds good in theory, but still have doubts?
Understandable. This is likely the first time you are going through a separation or divorce and it is understandable that an alternative other than the traditional adversarial process makes you uneasy. But consider this analogy: If you had a back problem or another physical ailment, would surgery be your first option? I hope not, especially if a different form of treatment is available claiming to offer all the same benefits of a full cure and recovery without any of the significant risks of surgery. At the very least, you would seek a second opinion. There is a way of resolving disputes, getting separated, or divorced without risking the loss of an amicable co-parenting relationship and/or the ability to have a positive co-parenting plan, not to mention losing an arm and a leg in professional fees. Mediation offers a better alternative of treatment. Considering that 99% of all divorce cases settle before going to trial and since mediation is voluntary and confidential, there is little to no risk in seeing if it will work for you.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Working with an attorney is a highly personal experience. It is of utmost importance that you feel comfortable with us, which is why we offer a free consultation. We are confident that once you get to know us, you will want to work together. You can set up your free consultation by email or phone. We look forward to meeting you.
79 WEST MAIN STREET
Victor, NY 14564
When it comes to your divorce or family law case, experience matters. We have represented thousands of clients in matters of divorce, child custody, and child support.
Many people do not realize that New York is a no-fault divorce state. It is no longer necessary or even common to get a legal separation before getting divorced in New York. An uncontested divorce is the fastest and most budget-friendly path to marital dissolution. Often, an uncontested divorce can be settled with only one party retaining a lawyer.
When an uncontested divorce is not possible, you will want a family court lawyer with extensive trial experience. When you are considering hiring a family court lawyer, it is important to ask about the number of divorce trials they have handled.
Divorce for Business Owners or Their Spouses
If you or your spouse own a business, it’s crucial to hire a divorce attorney who has comprehensive experience handling business assets. Not all divorce attorneys understand business valuations or the tax consequences of businesses. The special considerations of business owners require special knowledge from your lawyer.
Nothing is more important than your children. If you are facing parental alienation or your children are being coached, a child custody battle can be especially difficult. We have expertly conducted countless child custody trials, including initial determinations of the best interests of the children, modifications to prior orders, enforcement proceedings, and cases of parental alienation.
Child support is much more complicated than a basic formula or a certain percentage of income. There are multiple considerations that go into calculating child support, especially if you or the other parent works in a cash business, is underemployed, or if you share equal time with the child. We are experienced in every aspect of determining child support. If child support is already established, we can even determine, often in a phone call, whether the amount you are currently paying or receiving is fair.
Orders of Protection
If you have been served with a Family Court Order of Protection or if you feel that you need an Order of Protection to keep you or your children safe, you must act fast. An Order of Protection against you can impact your job, your ability to see your children, your right to live in your home, and your right to possess firearms. If a temporary Order of Protection was issued against you without you being present, you have a right to have the Order of Protection reevaluated right away. If you are seeking an Order of Protection, we will help you apply for the order, most often within 24 hours.
Have you tried to work through the issues with your spouse and keep "getting stuck" in the same pattern? Our mediators help couples shift into a new and productive way of communicating and problem solving, even while they are working towards their divorce. This family-centered process, in which the parties themselves are in control and empowered to make their own decisions, seeks to reduce the tension and trauma of divorce, not increase it. This enables couples to achieve a sense of wholeness by working together through the current issues and develop the necessary tools for resolving future differences.