In this Article:
(click a link below to go right to that section):
- What Is Divorce Mediation?
- How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
- Mediation and Children
- What Are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation on Long Island?
- How to Know If Mediation Is Right for You
- What to Expect During Divorce Mediation in New York
- Top 10 Tips for Successful Mediation
- How Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Family and Divorce Attorneys Can Help
Divorce is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging experiences. It’s often a time of stress, heartbreak, and financial strain for families in the midst of breaking up. Seeking the assistance of a skilled divorce mediator on Long Island, NY can significantly ease this process. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., our experienced Long Island, NY divorce mediators are dedicated to facilitating amicable separations, reducing stress, time, and costs for all involved.
Divorce mediation is a non-adversarial approach to resolving divorce and separation issues. In this alternate dispute resolution process, a neutral third-party mediator helps the divorcing couple communicate and negotiate with one another about important matters that need to be settled during the divorce, including property division, child custody, support, etc. It is important to note that the couple needs to be able to clearly communicate with each other in a non-threatening and non-accusatory way in order for divorce mediation to be an effective means of resolving their practical divorce issues.
Mediation can help couples avoid the time, expense and stress and publicity of hashing out a divorce in court. The goal of divorce mediation is to reach mutually acceptable terms in a less confrontational way, which typically leads to a more amicable and cost-effective divorce.
If you’re considering getting a divorce or preparing for the process, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of how divorce mediation works and what you can expect. During this process, you and your spouse will meet with your divorce mediator who will help you discuss the terms of your separation one issue at a time.
The mediator does not represent either spouse or give advice; instead, they help you effectively communicate to offer potential compromises and mutually beneficial solutions that can hopefully serve the best interests of everyone involved. Mediation can take place weekly, bi-weekly, or on any schedule agreed upon by both spouses and the mediator.
There are a number of different types of divorce mediators who can help you; some are divorce attorneys and others are not. If you choose to use a divorce mediator or divorce mediation service that is not a licensed, practicing divorce attorney, you will want to have a divorce attorney look over your final divorce agreement to be sure you are each protected under New York State law.
The length of time it takes to mediate depends on the complexity of the divorce and the ability of you and your spouse to work together. You can bring your own attorney to mediation, since the mediator can’t give you legal advice or tell you what you should do.
The end of your marriage will likely be an emotional, difficult, and frightening experience for your children. They are naturally confused by what’s going on and likely don’t understand why mom and dad can’t live together anymore. Often, they feel guilt over child custody issues if they are made to “take sides” with one parent against the other.
In a traditional, litigated divorce, children all too often become victims of the process. They are subject to witnessing the constant battle their parents have with each other over issues like how much child support to pay or who gets to spend weekends or holidays with them. These decisions can put a great emotional strain on a child.
Divorce mediation often provides a more successful method of managing these issues because it removes the adversarial nature that is inherent with litigation and replaces it with amicable, goal-oriented problem-solving. Instead of arguing about child custody and visitation, you and your spouse have an opportunity to sit down and discuss which outcome is in the best interests of your children. This removes much of the stress and anger that children feel and react to in a more traditional litigated divorce.
There are many benefits of using mediation to resolve your divorce, including:
The adversarial nature of divorce litigation can often cause the process to last for years with coordinating attorney and court schedules and filing motions and responses to motions. But with mediation, you’re more likely to spend just a few months resolving all of the aspects of your divorce. Because you and your spouse are working together, you’re in control of how long it takes. Your divorce could even be finalized after a few sessions with the mediator if you and your partner are able to easily agree on the terms.
In general, divorce mediation is considerably more cost-effective than divorce litigation. Mediation prioritizes open communication, cooperation, problem-solving, and compromise, all of which contribute to a more streamlined and efficient separation process.
By avoiding the need for lengthy court appearances and more billable attorney hours, couples who opt for mediation typically pay a lot less to divorce. This allows you to allocate the resources you have more effectively and helps minimize the financial strain associated with a traditional divorce.
Divorce litigation often results in ongoing battles that can cause a great deal of stress for the whole family. Litigated divorces that are particularly contentious or complex can take an extreme toll on everyone involved.
Divorce mediation is a friendlier and less confrontational process than a litigated divorce. This helps minimize feelings of hostility you and your spouse may have toward one another and make it more likely that you will reach a mutually beneficial agreement you can both live with moving forward. This reduces the stress during the process and the stress afterward. Couples who mediate their divorce often maintain much better and more open communication with their ex than those who litigate their divorce. This is better for everyone in the family, including the children, and often results in an easier time moving forward with your life after divorce.
Another significant benefit of divorce mediation, especially if you and your partner have children, is the fact that any divorce judgment reached by mediation is confidential. If your divorce is litigated in court, it becomes public record, and therefore, all information that was discussed during the divorce also becomes public record. This includes your finances, assets, income, any fault asserted, and all other personal issues that may have been discussed.
Because divorce mediation involves you and your partner coming to a mutual agreement on your own terms, you both need to be relatively cordial with each other. While you don’t need to be in complete agreement before you enter mediation, you both need to be willing to listen to your partner and make reasonable compromises that are in the best interest of you and your family.
While not necessary, it can be helpful if both you and your spouse have been involved in handling the finances throughout the marriage. If you are both aware of your current financial situation and obligations, there is less chance of surprises or unexpected results.
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have feelings of resentment or animosity toward one another, divorce mediation may be a more difficult experience. When going through a divorce, it is almost inevitable that there will be disagreements along the way; so long as these are minor or things that are capable of resolution, divorce mediation may be something you want to consider.
When you first speak with your divorce mediator, they’ll ask you for some basic background information about your marriage and what issues will need to be addressed in your divorce. This consultation may be done over the phone or in the mediator’s office. Depending on your circumstances, your mediator may want to meet with you and your spouse together or separately for the initial meeting.
Because divorce is a complicated process, you’ll need to have your legal and financial documents in order before filing your divorce settlement with the court. This includes proof of income, assets, debts, and health and life insurance records. Your divorce mediator can provide you with a complete list of documents and information to have ready.
Many divorce mediators encourage spouses to refrain from discussing sensitive divorce issues outside the mediation sessions, since this can potentially lead to arguments and the unwillingness to compromise in the mediation room.
Once your divorce mediation is successfully completed, you and your spouse will sign an agreement that will allow you to have an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse will not have to “contest” or argue any issues in court.
Here are some tips to help make divorce mediation easier and more effective:
#1. Be Prepared to Participate
It’s easier to take a backseat and let your attorney do the talking during divorce litigation than it is during mediation. During mediation, both you and your spouse should be prepared to fully participate and talk through each issue that comes up. Your divorce mediator is there to guide you and your spouse to reach the best agreement for both of you.
#2. Be Ready to Make (Some) Compromises
It’s usually not possible to get everything you want in your divorce, especially if you’re mediating the dissolution and are interested in avoiding litigation if you can. Be ready to make some compromises and think about what issues you are most willing to negotiate. Offer these up for negotiation first, leaving the things you really don’t want to budge on off the table.
#3. Have Copies of All Important Documentation Available at Mediation
Your mediation will go more smoothly if you have copies of important documents like bank account statements, tax returns, property and assets, etc. ready to go. Call ahead to find out what you need to bring and ensure you have enough copies for yourself, your spouse, and your divorce mediator.
#4. Set Reasonable Goals
The goal of divorce litigation is to “win,” often at any cost. However, this isn’t necessarily the best approach for divorce mediation. Look for ways to create reasonable goals, such as sharing child custody or reaching an agreement on the length and amount of alimony that works best for both parties. Your win in divorce mediation is to resolve your divorce as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
#5. Be Civil and Respectful
During mediation, be respectful and civil when communicating with your spouse and the mediator. If you and your spouse aren’t on speaking terms or can’t be in a room together without fighting, mediation may not be the best option to resolve your divorce.
#6. Create a Compelling Case
Long Island, NY courts typically make decisions in divorce cases that are in the best interests of children or a lesser earning spouse. When going through the process of mediation, it’s important to make your case appear as compelling and persuasive as it can be. A lawyer can help you present accurate information in the best possible light.
#7. Look for Creative Solutions
Don’t be afraid to offer or discuss creative solutions to issues you and your spouse are facing. Although a potential solution may look unconventional, such as a male spouse being awarded primary custody, it may be the best resolution for the family.
#8. Exercise Patience
While mediation typically allows couples to dissolve their divorce amicably faster than litigation, it may still take several weeks or months to negotiate a settlement that you and your spouse both agree upon. Be patient with the mediation process and discuss any questions or concerns you have with a trusted and experienced Long Island, NY divorce lawyer.
#9. Get Professional Emotional Support
Both divorce mediation and traditional divorce litigation can be emotionally draining, especially if you have children and are dealing with child custody and support issues. Consider obtaining professional counseling, group therapy, or other mental health support while going through the process of divorce mediation to help you manage your own feelings about the split.
#10. Contact an Experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney
A mediator can help you and your spouse reach an agreement about various aspects of your divorce, but they cannot provide you with legal advice or inform you of what would or wouldn’t be in your best interests. This is why you and your spouse might each want to have your own attorneys review any divorce agreement that comes out of the mediation process.
Divorce mediation is a confidential, collaborative process that helps you resolve the issues involved in ending your marriage without the time, stress and expense of litigation in court. Our experienced Long Island, NY divorce mediators can help guide you through this process quickly and fairly, so you can get the best results possible for your family.
At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we encourage honest and open discussion between you and your spouse about the important issues you need to resolve. We help you find common ground and instead of imposing ideas or solutions, we guide you to make your own decisions about the best ways to resolve the issues involved in ending your marriage. Our process is geared toward helping you rebuild the foundation for a strong family bond, while best positioning you to move forward with your life.
Give us a call at 631-923-1910 for a free consultation and case evaluation with a skilled Long Island, NY divorce mediator. We’ll discuss the specifics of your case and determine if you and your spouse are suitable candidates for divorce mediation. Alternatively, fill out the short form on this page, and we’ll promptly get back to you to explore how we can assist as your chosen divorce mediator in Long Island.
Divorce is never easy, but Hornberger Verbitsky made the process as smooth as it gets. I used the firm for mediation. All emails were answered quickly, and the team was extremely knowledgeable. Patty in particular was wonderful to work with, and very patient with all of my questions. I would highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky!
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