Divorce Mediation Basics
Divorcing couples often don’t realize that traditional litigation is not the only option when it comes to ending a marriage. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation, can be a highly effective way of reaching a divorce settlement with less expense and less animosity.
Divorce mediation is a process where a divorcing couple turns to a neutral third party — the mediator — to help facilitate an out-of-court settlement of marital disputes. The mediator is not there to decide who is right or wrong. Instead, the mediator remains impartial and guides discussions between the spouses with the end goal of resolving all issues, from child custody to property division to alimony.
In New York, mediation was historically a voluntary process. Couples could choose to mediate or fight it out in court. In 2019, however, New York’s chief judge issued a directive requiring state courts to steer nearly all couples toward mediation before allowing them to go to trial. This is known as the Presumptive ADR Program and it was implemented to try to minimize court backlogs by encouraging out-of-court resolutions in most civil cases, including divorce.
This means that when you decide to get divorced in New York, you’re highly likely to engage in mediation either voluntarily or by getting referred through the Presumptive ADR Program. Engaging a mediator on your own is usually the most effective way to get on a path to achieving the very real benefits mediation provides, saving both cost and time.
So how does the mediation process work? Here are a few basics:
- You and your spouse find a mediation service that you agree to use.
- You visit the mediator together for several sessions where you discuss the issues related to your divorce and ways to resolve them. How many sessions it takes depends on your unique situation, but the process could be less than three months.
- The mediator then crafts a settlement agreement based on the discussions, which is filed with the court where your divorce is pending.neut
- Once the court approves the settlement agreement, it becomes part of your divorce judgment.
The family law mediators at Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. have decades of experience helping couples in Suffolk and Nassau counties reach amicable divorce agreements. We invite you to arrange a free initial consultation to discuss your situation with one of our highly trained team members. You can reach us at 1.631.683.8172 or you can contact us online. We’re available seven days a week and we offer convenient evening appointments.