Top 10 Divorce Mediation Tips for Long Islanders
Many couples in New York who opt to dissolve their marriage do so via mediation. Mediation differs from traditional litigation in several ways; namely, you and your spouse won’t go to court. Instead, you’ll both meet with a neutral third party who will help you talk out your divorce settlement. Once you and your spouse reach an agreement, your attorney will file for a judge to approve the divorce decree on your behalf.
Here are some tips to help make mediation easier and more effective, and how you can get experienced legal help when you need it most during a Long Island divorce.
#1. Be Prepared to Participate in Your Divorce Mediation
It’s easier to take a backseat and let your attorney do the talking when going through the process of divorce litigation than it is to do so during mediation. During mediation, both you and your spouse should be prepared to fully participate. This is your divorce; your divorce mediator, who may be a family law attorney, is there to guide you and your spouse to reach the best agreement for both of you.
#2. Be Ready to Make (Some) Compromises During Mediation
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 for Divorce Mediation
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 get your divorce over and done with more quickly, less expensively and, hopefully with an amicable relationship with your ex so that you can move on to a happier, more fulfilling life with less stress during the divorce process.
#5. Be Civil and Respectful When Communicating with Your Spouse During Mediation
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 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. Your lawyer can help you present accurate information in the best possible light.
#7. Look for Creative Solutions to Problems During Mediation
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 with the Divorce Mediation Process
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 Long Island divorce lawyer.
#9. Get Professional Emotional Support During Divorce Mediation
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 your divorce mediation process.
Contact Hornberger Verbitsky, PC today to learn more about divorce mediation or to schedule a consultation to discuss the next step in your divorce. Call now at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page.
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