Many people underestimate just how powerful forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can be for resolving a divorce. After all, there's a reason family law judges often ask parties to engage in mediation before continuing their divorce in court.
Mediation offers many couples a more cost-effective, less stressful way to approach the dissolution of their marriage. If you're considering divorce, understanding different forms of ADR like mediation can help find the best way to dissolve your marriage.
What Is Mediation?
In mediation, a couple works with a mediator to compromise on the various legal processes related to divorce (property division, child custody, child and spousal support, etc.) and reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce.
Mediation is often a relatively quick process, sometimes taking place over just a single day.
A Quick Aside: Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is a popular alternative to mediation and we'll mention it throughout this blog, so we'll cover it briefly.
In a collaborative divorce, both parties hire an attorney. The parties and their attorneys then work together over several sessions to negotiate the terms of their divorce.
Collaborative divorce gives both parties a bit more legal protection than mediation and is generally a longer process. As a result, it's also more expensive than mediation (in most cases). Both mediation and collaborative divorce are great options if you want to resolve your divorce more peacefully.
Should I Consider Mediation for My Divorce?
Every divorce is different. While mediation is the best path forward for some couples, it's not always the right choice. You should consider mediation if:
- You know what you want out of the divorce. As we mentioned earlier, mediation is usually a fast process. If you need extended time to think about divorce-related matters like property division, a different form of ADR like collaborative divorce that takes longer might be better for you.
- You believe you can engage in good-faith negotiation with your soon-to-be-ex. Mediation is most successful when both parties can put their best foot forward. Mediators cannot give legal advice—if you want counsel, you need to hire a separate mediation attorney. As a result, mediations work better when both parties can engage in good-faith negotiation without trying to manipulate or strong-arm the outcome.
- You want a more cost-effective divorce. Traditional, in-court divorces can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Mediation usually costs a fraction of that. If you want a more cost-effective divorce, a form of ADR like mediation or collaborative divorce is your best option.
- You want to maintain a positive relationship with your soon-to-be-ex moving forward. If you share a child, work together, or just generally want to make the divorce as peaceful as possible, mediation might be the right option for you. The collaborative nature of mediation encourages parties to work together, laying the foundation for a better post-divorce relationship.
At Simon Law Group, PLLC, we're proud to provide dedicated mediation services to our clients. We understand the ins and outs of mediation and divorce laws in New York and can help you navigate your divorce with confidence.
To schedule a consultation with a mediation attorney who will give you the care and compassion you deserve, contact us online or via phone at (631) 237-9525.