Stages of Divorce Mediation
You and your spouse have made the decision to avoid feuding attorneys and public courtrooms and conduct your divorce proceedings through mediation. What does the divorce mediation process look like? At Win-Win, we break it into a series of stages that allows each spouse time to digest the information and make informed decisions. Every situation is different, but the process follows this basic framework:
When you choose Win-Win as your divorce mediators, we will begin the process with a free thirty-minute consultation where we can start getting to know you and your spouse, explain ground rules and what mediation allows, and answer any questions you might have about your individual divorce case, the divorce process, or mediation. If you decide to proceed, we will schedule a series of sessions, in which we will address all issues pertaining to your divorce one by one. Some stages will require more sessions than others, and this varies on a case by case basis.
We prefer to schedule your first session a week to ten days after the initial consultation, and every week or so after that. We also understand that people have obligations, and we try to strike a balance between building an attorney client relationship with you and respecting your life and schedule. At each session, you will have a highly qualified team of family law attorneys and social workers to not only offer legal advice, but support you emotionally through this difficult phase and facilitate cooperation. Each mediation session will move you closer to divorce settlement by tackling one aspect of your divorce at a time. Since every couple and situation is unique, some decisions will be quicker and easier to reach than others, so some stages of the divorce process will involve more sessions, and some fewer. Mediators are trained to help you and your spouse reach an agreement without ever taking sides.
Child custody and child support are points of contention for many couples. Parents never want to drag their children into a nasty divorce and with mediation, unlike litigation, the process can almost always be completed without involving the child. Your mediator–a neutral third party who only wants what’s best for everyone–will work with you to resolve every aspect of your child custody arrangement. They will take into consideration the needs of all individuals and offer advice, but the final agreement is completely up to you. Together, the couple will set child support, decide on living arrangements, visitation, a parenting plan , legal custody, and any other matter that may affect the family. Many people worry that in matters of child support and custody, they will be unable to reach an accord with their spouse. However, we strongly suggest you exhaust all other options before dragging your family into a long, expensive, public, and painful ordeal in court. Your mediator may be able to suggest arrangements that didn’t occur to you, and they are there to support clients in any way they can.
You and your spouse want what’s best for your children, and the mediation process can help you arrive at an agreement quickly and with minimal conflict, allowing children to return to the security of their regular lives and routines.
This can be a difficult stage for many couples, as dealing with money and thinking about a long and short term financial future causes stress and fear in all parties. You and your spouse will have difficult decisions to make, but rest assured, you won’t be fighting tooth and nail over every detail. The divorce mediation process allows each spouse to voice their concerns and ask for information. Everyone’s needs will be respected as you work to set spousal support, make sure everyone’s living expenses are met, and agree on what will be done with shared assets like the family home. Spouses will also address investments, debt, and retirement assets like pensions and IRAs at this time. Your mediator will be beside you the entire time to provide information, offer suggestions, and emotionally support both parties.
Choosing a Long Island Divorce Mediation Firm
Finding the ideal Long Island divorce mediation company can seem overwhelming, exhausting, and stressful. What do separating couples need to know when choosing who is best to guide them through this difficult time? When looking for a divorce mediator, consider:
This stage of divorce mediation addresses items spouses accumulated during their time together. This step can also be frustrating and painful due to the emotional attachment people form to some items and the memories they can evoke. Still, to reach an agreement, compromises must be made. To reiterate, divorce mediation isn’t about fighting your spouse to get as much as you can. Mediation is about reaching terms that are beneficial to everyone with as little conflict as possible, so you and your spouse can finalize the divorce and move on with your life.
Another advantage to mediation is that during this step, spouses can make arrangements for anything that’s important to them–no issues are too small. Mediation offers an incredible amount of flexibility and specificity that a court could not. If you are a person who likes every detail laid out so nothing is left to chance, you can take advantage of this step to ensure all your concerns are addressed.
The next step in divorce mediation is the settlement agreement. A divorce attorney will draft the agreement based on everything you and your spouse have worked out with your mediators. At this stage, spouses are encouraged to ask questions, take notes, and make markings on the agreement. Attorneys can answer all questions either client has, and the mediator may provide additional information at this time.
This is the rough form of the document that will eventually be submitted to the court and will contain all issues pertinent to the case–those discussed in your sessions or over the phone or email–as well as other information required by the court.
THE LONG ISLAND DIVORCE MEDIATION PROCESS
You and your spouse will have time–generally a week to ten days–to ruminate on all the decisions you’ve made. The next stage in divorce mediation will be the review session. You, your spouse, and the mediator will meet in person so that all parties have the opportunity to request edits or changes. Once any issues have been resolved and both individuals are satisfied, attorneys will draw up the Final Agreement. We will then schedule a time for both parties to sign the Final Agreement.
This is the final step in the divorce mediation system. Once all parties have agreed on and signed the Final Agreement, the mediation team will prepare your Divorce Packet, which includes the Agreement, documents and materials required by the courts, and minutiae pertaining to your case: contact information, social security numbers, health insurance IDs, and so on. Shortly thereafter, in our mediation role, we will file the paperwork on your behalf. Depending on the county where the paperwork is filed, it can take four to six months for a judge to sign off. After this step, your divorce is officially complete.
Neither spouse will have to appear before a judge in person. You are free to get on with your post divorce life–and that’s our goal for every client! What’s more, divorcing through mediation is much faster and less expensive than working with a divorce lawyer or law firm and going through litigation.
NO ADVANCE FEES REQUIRED
By opting to work with a divorce mediator, you not only avoid the hassle of a drawn out divorce, you also save significantly. With Win-Win Divorce Solutions, our clients pay only a fraction of the cost of a traditional, litigated divorce in the Family Court System. There are no advanced fees or retainers. As a more affordable, convenient, and simplified alternative, our service is one of the most ideal solutions available.
Additionally, Win-Win Divorce Solutions is one of the only firms in NYC that offers an impartial co-mediation experience with mediators who have training in both law and social work. Our objective is to help you get through every step of this complex and emotionally challenging process with ease. We want you to have a successful outcome, and we are truly committed to ensuring your experience with us is nothing short of outstanding.