When most people think of divorce, they imagine a long, drawn-out conflict that may take months or even years and cost more than they are often willing to spend. Many couples want an alternative to a divorce trial’s financial and emotional toll.
Mediation is an alternative legal method that can be used to resolve the issues of divorce. It allows you and your spouse to settle on the terms of your divorce with little judicial involvement. Many of our clients don’t know much about divorce mediation, but once we explain the process, many find it to be an appealing option. Below, the Brooklyn divorce mediation attorney at Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC, describes divorce mediation in New York. If you’d like to explore divorce mediation further or have specific questions about your divorce, contact our Brooklyn mediation divorce lawyer today.
The Gilmer Law Firm’s Divorce Mediation Practice
Our firm’s Brooklyn divorce mediation lawyer, George Gilmer, has many years of experience representing clients in divorces throughout the New York City area. Our firm has represented clients in mediation for both contested and uncontested divorces. We have extensive knowledge of New York divorce and family law and the intricacies of the divorce mediation process in New York City.
Our Brooklyn mediation divorce attorney also provides compassionate representation. Our firm understands that divorce is usually the last option for a couple, and thus we help our clients devise the best, easiest, and most cost-effective strategy to meet their needs. Mediation is sometimes the best way for couples to resolve their issues quickly, without unnecessary conflict.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is a structured process that helps people resolve conflicts outside of court. In divorce mediation, a neutral third party, called a mediator, facilitates settlement discussions between the parties and their attorneys. The goal is to resolve all the divorce issues amicably so the case does not need to go to trial. Mediation primarily aims to find solutions to disputes and ultimately guide the couple toward a mutually agreed upon settlement.
In many New York cases, a divorce court will require the parties to go to mediation. However, this doesn’t mean that the court or a judge has anything to do with mediation. Mediation takes place outside of court with no judicial oversight.
But even though it is informal, mediation still has some rules. For example, the parties and the mediator sign an agreement to keep all conversations during mediation confidential. This means the parties cannot use any information from the mediation in court. Nor can the mediator tell the judge what happens during the mediation.
What Is a Mediator?
A mediator is a neutral third party whose role is to facilitate discussions between the parties to help them compromise and reach an agreement. The mediator is independent. The mediator doesn’t work for or represent either party. Nor does the mediator represent the court or judge.
Typically, a mediator has specific conflict-resolution skills and training. Divorce mediators often have specific experience and training in dealing with the conflicts and complexities of New York divorces. And, because a mediator isn’t confined to the court process, they may look for solutions outside the box.
A mediator does not make any decisions about your divorce or the contentious issues of a case. Instead, the mediator tries to find a middle ground that works for both parties. Ultimately, you and your spouse are in control of whether you resolve all divorce issues in mediation—or have a judge who doesn’t know you make major decisions that will impact your family’s lives for years to come.
What Happens at the End of Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation typically ends in one of two ways. The couple may agree to all of the terms of their divorce and sign a marital settlement agreement. If they can reach such an agreement, a judge will then sign it and incorporate it as part of the final divorce decree. Or, if the couple cannot agree to the divorce terms, the mediator will refer them back to court. There, they’ll have to go through the regular divorce court process, where a judge makes the final decisions.
Is Mediation Required in a Brooklyn Divorce?
Brooklyn and the rest of New York State require most civil cases, including divorces, to go through mediation. This is called “presumptive mediation.” The idea behind this requirement is that mediation can help facilitate the resolution of cases and clear up the court’s backlog.
When you file for a Brooklyn divorce, the court staff will screen you to determine if your divorce is eligible for mediation. Most divorces are eligible. However, cases may not be considered mediation-eligible if they involve certain issues, including the following:
- Past or present orders of protection between the parties,
- A power imbalance between the parties,
- Past or present allegations of domestic or child abuse or neglect,
- Substance abuse issues,
- Complex financial issues which require extensive discovery, or
- Another issue as deemed by the court.
The court may also postpone a referral to mediation until it decides on certain temporary orders in a divorce, such as temporary support, custody, or protective orders. You should discuss your divorce’s eligibility for mediation with our divorce mediation lawyer in Brooklyn, NY, today.
What Issues Does a Divorce Mediation Address?
A couple can use divorce mediation to address and settle every single issue they raised in their divorce. The issues a divorce mediation can resolve include the following:
- The reason for the divorce;
- The separate and marital property;
- How to divide the marital property;
- All child custody issues, including creating a parenting plan;
- Whether a party will pay child or spousal support; and
- Any other issue raised by the divorce.
The spouses can use mediation to resolve specific issues that are particularly contentious or all of the divorce issues. For example, the spouses may agree on dividing property but need mediation to find a middle ground on child custody and support issues. A Brooklyn divorce mediation lawyer can help you decide if mediation suits the particular issues in your case.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Divorce Mediation?
Although mediation seems like a simpler solution in a divorce, you should still secure an experienced lawyer to represent you in mediation. An attorney can help you successfully negotiate the issues that are most important to you. Even though mediation is informal, you’ll still be required to produce documents and prepare compelling arguments if you wish to succeed. A mediation attorney can help you with all of these requirements. Plus, if you do settle, you’ll want your attorney to negotiate and confirm the terms of the marital settlement agreement.
Our Brooklyn Divorce Mediation Law Firm Can Help
At the Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC, we can handle any aspect of a Brooklyn divorce. Our experienced and knowledgeable attorney can guide you through divorce mediation and help you negotiate for what’s most important to you. Plus, if you and your spouse don’t resolve all of your issues in mediation, we can fight for you in court. Contact us today.