Questions to Ask When Considering Divorce Mediation

Deciding to end a marriage is never easy. But once the decision is made, most couples agree they want to avoid a long, bitter courtroom battle. Instead, they may seek a more peaceful resolution through Divorce Mediation. If you’re considering this route, it’s essential to understand what it entails. Here, we answer the most frequently asked questions about mediation to help you understand the process and determine whether it may be a good fit for you.

1. What is the Mediation Process Like?

    In Divorce Mediation, you and your spouse meet with a trained mediator to discuss and resolve various issues related to your separation. Both spouses speak with each other directly throughout the process, exchanging all necessary documents and information. The role of the mediator is to foster an environment that promotes open communication and cooperation by facilitating productive conversations that help you work towards mutually agreeable solutions. It’s crucial that both spouses approach the process with civility and a willingness to compromise.

    2. How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?

    Unlike traditional divorce litigation, mediation begins as soon as both spouses are ready. Parties don’t need to wait for a court-assigned date as they would if their case were being litigated. The most important factor that will influence the amount of time your mediated divorce will take is your ability to compromise and focus on resolving issues. However, the duration of the mediation process will also be influenced by the complexity of the issues involved and logistical issues such as how available you and your spouse are to meet with the mediator.

    3. Do I Need My Own Attorney in a Mediated Divorce?

    While mediation encourages creative problem-solving, it’s advisable that you and your spouse each seek guidance from your own Mediation Consulting attorney to ensure your individual rights and interests are protected and that you are able to effectively advocate for yourself throughout the process. While your mediator may be a licensed divorce attorney, they cannot give legal advice since they are neutral and do not represent either party. In addition to providing individualized legal advice, a consulting attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations and review any proposed agreements before they are finalized.

    4. What Issues Can Divorce Mediation Resolve?

    Mediation can effectively resolve a wide range of divorce-related issues, including Child Custody and Parenting Agreements, child support, Spousal Support, and Property Division. The mediator facilitates discussions to explore creative solutions that may not be feasible in a courtroom setting.

    5. What Qualifications Should My Mediator Have?

    While New York does not mandate specific requirements for divorce mediators, it’s highly advisable to work with legal professionals with extensive experience in family law. Mediators with a family law background have the advantage of being very familiar with the laws in their jurisdictions, can offer valuable insights about the rights of both parties and can draft legally binding agreements containing all the terms to which the parties have agreed.

    6. What if My Spouse is More Knowledgeable About Financial Matters Than I Am?

    The key to a successful mediation is that both spouses are on equal ground. In cases where one spouse is more knowledgeable about financial matters, additional support may be necessary. Consulting a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can help you understand your current financial situation as well as what you need for the future to ensure a fair settlement.

    7. What Other Divorce Options Do I Have if Mediation is Ineffective?

    If mediation proves unsuccessful, you may want to consider Collaborative Divorce before pursuing litigation. Collaborative Divorce is another approach that does not involve going to court where you and your spouse each have non-adversarial legal representation throughout the process.

    In a Collaborative Divorce, your legal rights are protected by your attorneys who are in the room to help advocate for what is important to you.  Additionally, the collaborative divorce team includes other specialists to help address the intricate issues involved, such as financial specialists and family specialists. Similar to mediation, the effectiveness of a Collaborative Divorce hinges on both parties’ (and their attorneys’) ability and willingness to compromise.

    8. Are Mediation Sessions Confidential? Can Anything I Say During Mediation be Used Against Me in Court?

    To avoid having anything you say during mediation sessions used against you later if you end up in court, you will sign a Confidentiality Agreement with your spouse and mediator at the start of your mediation. That agreement will specify that all statements made during the mediation are considered privileged communications that cannot be used in court.

    9. Mediation Sounds Like a Good Option for Me. What Do I Need to Do Now?

    Choosing Divorce Mediation requires careful consideration and commitment. If you feel that mediation is right for you, you should contact a knowledgeable New York divorce attorney and mediator who can help you understand what to expect and how to achieve the best possible outcome. Before talking to any divorce attorneys, be sure to review these Questions to Ask to Determine Whether a Divorce Attorney is the Right Fit for You.

    Contact Vacca Family Law Group

    At Vacca Family Law Group, we have seen the challenges and emotional turmoil our clients experience when going through a divorce. That’s why we urge them to consider non-adversarial Divorce Options. Our experienced mediators and collaborative attorneys can offer tailored advice to help you choose the divorce process that best suits your unique situation so you can make informed decisions throughout the process and be in control of your future. Call us at 646-798-4603 or contact us online to schedule your free introductory call.

    Vacca Family Law Group is located at One Grand Central Place, 60 E. 42nd St. #700, New York, NY 10165.