As a divorce and family law litigator, and a member of the Attorney for the Children panel, I know that family law mediation can offer a healthier, faster and financially smarter way for couples to separate.
Divorce can be an ugly process aggravated by stress, anger, financial concerns and emotional strife. Children are placed in the middle. Couples spend their savings on attorneys and court fees, and end up borrowing from family and friends just to pay legal fees during the battle.
There is an alternative. Mediation.
My mediation practice focuses on helping couples divorce or separate through a process with the least amount of stress as possible. I have been a divorce and family law practitioner for over 10 years, and have been a member of the Nassau County Attorney for the Children Panel since 2011. I have witnessed hundreds of families go through the trauma of divorce litigation, and have personally represented their children in court when custody cannot be agreed upon.
Mediation is a process that allows couples to separate, divorce or settle family law disputes in a cost-effective manner, on their own time schedule – not rushed or forced by a court or attorneys. The mediation process takes place in the privacy of my office, without the need for court intervention and a judge deciding the future of your family. My job as the mediator is to advise couples of the domestic relations laws of the state of New York, and guide them through the process, without taking sides, and to ultimately resolve their matter in the most advantageous way for their family.
The Mediation Process
At all mediation sessions both parties must be present. The process begins with an intake session where I gather information about you and your family. For example, your date of marriage, children’s ages, your occupations, income, assets, debts, health issues, etc. Thereafter, I provide couples with a detailed explanation of the domestic relations laws of New York State and the issues that need to be resolved. I ensure that couples understand the law and I provide written materials as well. Once everyone has an understanding of the legal issues and the laws that guide these issues, we are ready to begin!
At each session, I work with both parties to reach an agreement in an organized, progressive fashion, and promote constructive discussions aimed at settlement. Many couples have shared with me that they valued my perspective on custody and parenting schedules given my vast experience representing children in custody litigation. I have gained first-hand insight from these children which I rely on when helping families in mediation.
The End Result
The process comes to an end when the parties have resolved all issues of equitable distribution, spousal support, custody, a parenting schedule, child support and the payment of any legal/experts fees. At that point, my office drafts a Stipulation of Settlement or Separation Agreement for both parties to review, which both parties are encouraged to review with a lawyer of their own choosing. After reviewing the agreement and agreeing to all the terms, both parties sign the agreement. Depending on whether the parties want to be divorced, my office prepares documents to file with the New York State Supreme Court to be signed by a judge, ultimately dissolving the marriage and setting a clear course for the continuing responsibilities of the parties, such as the parenting schedule and support.
The Real End Result
The parties should be congratulated for “un-coupling” in a manner that is cost-effective, healthy, timely, and for focusing on what is best for their family.