Divorce Mediation – Working Together to Start New Lives

mediationDivorce does not need to be confrontational.  Divorce mediation is one of the most frequently used methods of negotiating a divorce settlement.  With mediation, you can settle terms such as spousal and child support, custody and visitation and separation of assets without setting foot inside of a courtroom.

So often we see couples start the process of a divorce with good intentions of remaining civil towards each other, usually for the sake of the children. However, the confrontational nature of the legal process often undermines the couple’s intentions.  Quite often the settlement includes spousal or child support based on a legal formula that may not seem fair and equitable for the person forced to pay.  In the end, the couple builds more animosity toward each other and all that is left is resentment.  Even if you try to hide these emotions from children, they are going to pick it up, potentially leading to further issues down the road.

Mediation is a process in which a couple works together with a neutral third party, called a mediator, to work out the details of the divorce without the confrontation.  There are no legal formulas, there are no lawyers speaking for you and there are no judges making a final decision.

There are many benefits to mediation, including the fact that the settlement does not become adversarial, but rather it is a collaborative effort.  This should make those times you must come together as a family, such as at sporting events, school functions or other milestone events much less stressful for everyone, especially the children.

Mediation is not for everyone.  Both people need to feel comfortable and safe and know that the other is acting in good faith to resolve the divorce amicably.  If there is a history of domestic violence or intimidation, you should not proceed with mediation.  These are cases where you are better served with a judge’s ruling and protections of the court.

While in the mediation negotiations the only people involved are you, your spouse and the mediator.  This does not mean that you are walking into that room alone or unprepared.  You must know what you are looking to achieve and you also must know on what terms you are willing to compromise and to what extent you are willing to do so.  You also need to know on what points you will not negotiate as much.  To put all of this together, you must to talk to an attorney that knows and understands family law.  Do not walk into a mediation without reviewing all details beforehand.

If you are unprepared, you may wind up agreeing to terms that are not in your best interest for the sake of just coming to agreement, which you will then regret.

As you go through the process, it is important to work with a family law attorney to discuss the progress of the negotiations.  Things may have started to move in an unexpected direction or items might have come up that you were not prepared for.  Do not be afraid to table a discussion if something arises that you have not accounted for.  Do not be pressured by your spouse to have a conversation about items you are not prepared to discuss.  It is also vital that you review the agreement with your attorney before you sign it.  You want to ensure the language is correct and you are signing what you have agreed to.   Agreements are harder to change after you sign them.

If you are starting the process of a divorce, it is already a stressful time.  Do not make any decisions too quickly.  Contact Elan Wurtzel to discuss your options.  Whether you decide to go the route of litigation or you decide that mediation is right for you and your family, Elan will be at your side.  In mediation, while Elan is not present during the mediation sessions, you will know that you have his guidance and experience behind you.

If you have any questions about mediation or any Family Law issue, please contact Elan at 516-822-7866.

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