Mediation allows you to negotiate your own agreement about issues such as time-sharing (visitation), child support, spousal support and property division. It is often less expensive and quicker than litigation.
It’s also private. Mediators encourage communication, perform reality checks and offer encouragement when negotiations temporarily falter. They may also schedule meetings with children, if relevant.
What is mediation?
Family mediation is one of several types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In mediation, a neutral third party assists family members in negotiations of family conflict involving divorce and other related issues such as custody arrangements, property division and child support agreements.
A mediator will facilitate the discussion between family members through meetings that promote communication, encourage understanding and consider possible areas of compromise. The power to agree or disagree rests with the family members, not the mediator.
A skilled New York mediator will guide the parties through problem-solving sessions to identify what is really driving the conflict and work toward a resolution. Often, legal issues in family law cases are accompanied by additional non-legal concerns which require attention and may be difficult to discuss in court. This is where mediation can be especially helpful. Mediation is less stressful, costs significantly less than litigation and can be more productive in preserving some type of relationship for the benefit of the children involved.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediation is less expensive, quicker, and less distressing than battling it out in court. The process is also more flexible, with sessions occurring at a time and location convenient to both parties.
Mediations are generally conducted in a private setting, and the information shared during the sessions is confidential. However, parties are encouraged to seek out independent legal advice prior to and during mediation.
Some of the common issues negotiated in family mediation include custody, parenting time, child and spousal support, and division of assets and debts. In addition, mediation can help couples work out the details of their post-divorce relationships. This includes determining how they will communicate, when, where, and how frequently they will meet, and how they will jointly parent their children. The goal is to build a healthy and stable future for all involved. Unlike litigation, mediation encourages cooperation rather than hostility. This can reduce the likelihood of future disputes and improve post-divorce relationships.
How do I find a mediator?
A family mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates the resolution of disputes in the areas of marriage, separation, divorce, child custody, parenting schedules, support, property division, alimony, and elder care. Mediators encourage parties to communicate openly and identify underlying interests.
Parties in mediation can resolve their issues in a single session or in multiple sessions over a period of time selected by the participants. A skilled mediator can often help couples reach agreements that would never be possible through traditional court proceedings.
It’s important to find a mediator with experience and a specialization in family law. You can find qualified mediators by searching the Family Mediation Center Register or asking your local family law attorney for recommendations. In addition, many family mediators offer free consultations. These are a great opportunity to determine whether or not you and the mediator will work well together. Also, it’s helpful to understand how a mediator is compensated.
How do I get started?
It is important that those involved in the dispute have their own independent legal advice before mediation begins. This can be obtained from a solicitor or a counsellor. A solicitor can also make a referral to a family mediator or provide other resources for the mediation process.
Mediation can be very emotional for everyone involved and it is important that people try to remain focused on the issues at hand. If discussions get heated, an experienced mediator will be able to help calm the waters and encourage both parties to talk about the issues.
If parents are unable to reach agreement at mediation sessions, they may need to go to court. This is a very stressful time for all involved, but if some agreements are reached at mediation sessions, it can help speed up the trial and minimise the long-term distress of the families. This is especially true if there are only a few issues left to work out.