Divorce Mediation in New York Explained by Hudson Valley Family Law Attorneys
Divorce can be a long and pricey process for couples. In order to avoid the expense of a trial, some couples attempt to mediate their divorces. While often touted as a faster, cheaper, and lower-conflict alternative means of ending a marriage, divorce mediation also has pitfalls that can make it a less-than-ideal solution for all couples.
Basic information on divorce mediation
Mediation of a divorce involves both spouses meeting with either one or a panel of mediators. The mediator will act impartially to help couples divide their shared property, allocate child custody, and determine any spousal support payments. Mediation lacks the formality of courtroom proceedings, such as the discovery process which requires both spouses to make full financial disclosures and share other evidence requested by their spouse. While mediators are typically attorneys, they are representing neither you nor your spouse in the divorce. While a mediator may describe the relevant law, they cannot offer legal advice to either party. Depending on the individual circumstances of the divorcing couple, mediating a divorce can take an average of two to five sessions.
Certain couples may be candidates for mediation
Since mediation involves working collaboratively with your spouse to resolve issues such as child custody and property division, the process requires that spouses are on relatively good terms at the time of their divorce. Couples with little marital property or who do not have children may be more likely to succeed at mediating their divorce. Couples who own a large number of assets jointly or who have children may experience more difficulty trying to mediate a split. Without the authority of a judge who can make decisions on issues where you and your spouse have reached an impasse, mediations can stall.
Spouses cannot consult with their attorneys during a mediation session
During mediation, only the spouses and mediator will be in the room. While spouses mediating a divorce may consult with an attorney before or after a session, there will be no one in the room who understands and can advise you on the best legal position for you to take to ensure your best interests are protected.
Mediation can end up adding time and expense to your divorce
While certain couples who have split up under amicable circumstances may be able to resolve their divorce through a mediation, many couples are unable to reach a settlement agreement without outside help. Some couples will complete multiple sessions without reaching an agreement. Others may reach an informal agreement, but prior to signing a binding contract, one spouse backs out. Since mediation isn’t binding, couples may need to start over from scratch with a courtroom divorce after spending weeks on a mediation.
Whether Mediating or Litigating, Choose Dedicated and Experienced Hudson Valley Family Law Attorneys to Help Resolve Your Divorce
If you’re planning to seek a divorce in New York, speak with a dedicated and thorough divorce attorney about your options, and contact the Hudson Valley divorce and mediation lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation, at 845-331-4100 (Kingston), or 845-236-4411 (Marlboro).