How Divorce Mediation Works

MEDIATED SOLUTIONS FOR LIVING

Divorce Mediation consists of a series of sessions (lasting from 1 to 1½ hours) usually spaced a week apart. The sessions continue until issues have been resolved or the couple terminates the process.

The role of the Mediator is that of a neutral facilitator of the proceedings.

The Sessions

The weekly scheduling of sessions allows the couple to discuss issues and do the fact gathering that may be important to financial and other issues that will have to be resolved before an agreement is reached. Where tensions may occasionally run high, weekly spacing affords spouses a helpful cooling off period. Weekly spacing of sessions is not mandatory, however, and where time issues impose urgency, the frequency of meetings may be increased. Most Mediations are completed in 4 – 7 sessions but on rare occasions can exceed 10.

At the first session the Mediator will review the few ground rules that apply to the Mediation, confirm the couple’s current situation, their understanding of the process and their objectives in the Mediation. Once the sessions are underway, the agenda is somewhat “free form” with the couple determining any pressing issues or general topics they wish to discuss at that particular session.

The Issues

Throughout the sessions the Mediator will aid the couple in addressing two major areas of dispute:

A) property division
B) spousal maintenance (formerly referred to as “alimony”)

If children are involved, two other areas will be addressed:

C) child support
D) parenting (formerly referred to as “custody”)

There is no prescribed sequence to the handling of these issues and the couple is invited, at the beginning each session, to describe any issue in need of immediate discussion and resolution.

The Objective

The main objective of any Mediation is an agreement that fully reflects the couple’s decisions as to the various issues in the main subject areas noted above. The Mediator does not offer or provide legal advice but may describe features of matrimonial law, as appropriate. The spouses, not the Mediator, are the sole determiners of what is fair in the shaping of their overall agreement. The Mediator acts as a neutral and helps to assure that there is plenty of opportunity for both parties to express themselves on all issues of importance to them. The Mediator will also assist in indentifying issues that the spouses may have overlooked in their discussions.

The Mediator

In acting as a neutral, the Mediator will seek to minimize his/her role in the discussions, the objective being to give “ownership” of the sessions to the couple, allowing them to define and discuss issues of immediate concern to them. Consistent with this objective, the Mediator will also act to moderate discussions, especially in the event matters become contentious. The Mediator may also assign “homework’ on budgetary and custodial issues.

The Agreement

The couple’s agreement is described in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This, in turn, will be provided to their attorneys for formulation into a draft Separation Agreement. The draft Separation Agreement is then sent to review counsel, selected and retained by the couple, who provides any feedback to the Mediator. Although Balick Mediation LLC does not prepare the Separation Agreement, remaining issues are subject to further discussion and resolution through the Mediation process.

Once finalized, the couple will proceed with the filing of the Separation Agreement and, assuming divorce is the objective, the filing of a divorce action in New York Supreme Court.

Sanford (Sandy) Balick, Esq. Divorce Mediator, New YorkWe would be pleased to schedule a consultation with you and your spouse to explore the Divorce Mediation process and to answer your questions about it. There is no fee or commitment for this consultation.

We invite you to call us today at 
(646) 340-3434
to schedule your no-fee appointment.

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