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What’s Divorce Mediation

July 24, 2016 Our Blog

What’s Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation is an alternate way to separate from a spouse without having to go through a protracted court battle. The entire process is somewhat informal. It involves the use of a neutral, professional third-party person called a mediator. Here is what you need to know about divorce mediation.

Understanding the Process

The basic process of divorce mediation starts with a call to a mediator. Both you and your spouse must agree to go through mediation and honor the process. The mediator will then like talk to each party separately gathering objective information about the current state of the marriage, children and assets. Each spouse can often present questions or problems that need to be resolved during mediation. Both parties will then be called in to meet in person in an office or other location.

Reaching an Agreement

The bulk of mediation revolves around the spouses negotiating to reach a settlement that is amicable for everyone involved. The mediator does not act like a judge executing decisions. The mediator will simply ask questions and guide the negotiations so that they remain constructive. Negotiations will continue until a solution has been reached for all of the relevant issues. This could require one or both spouses having to gather more information about the current marriage situation.

Attorneys Can Be Involved

It is possible and sometimes preferable to involve attorneys in mediation. You can have an attorney attend some or all of the mediation sessions. A lawyer can help to protect your rights. Attorneys can also help by constructing creative agreements between the spouses. Although it is not necessary, many people in contentious divorces do have attorneys present during mediation.

Benefits of Mediation

Mediation has several benefits. The first is that you and your spouse control the process in most cases. You can reach agreements based on what you want and need instead of being bound by harsh divorce or civil laws. Everything that happens in mediation is usually confidential and private. Mediation can take far less time than litigation if the parties are willing to negotiate with an open mind. Mediation can cost less than going to court for a divorce. A final benefit is that mediation could help to improve communication between parties after a divorce so that resolving unexpected issues is much easier in the future.

What the Final Agreement Means

A final agreement will be drawn up when mediation completes and all problems are solved. That final agreement is usually entered into the divorce paperwork as a legally binding document. The agreement can be legally enforced by the courts if one spouse decides to disregard it. Some agreements will even include parenting plans to cover how children are treated after the divorce. A good thing about divorce mediation is that most people follow the agreement afterwards because it was developed through mutual consensus.

When Mediation Might Not Work

There are some situations where mediation might not work. One is if there is a history of violence or abuse between spouses. Mediation could be too stressful or traumatic to endure in that case. Another situation is if one spouse absolutely will not negotiate on key points such as child custody or ownership of assets. A final possible time when mediation might not work is if the marriage was so contentious that a spouse will not even make contact with the other person. Speak to a NYC divorce lawyer today, for more information.

Divorce mediation is a process that helps you resolve your differences in a divorce outside of court. The role of divorce mediation is to help the parties reach an agreement to the case without the judge having to rule on the issues involved. Mediation keeps cases out of the court and gives the parties more say in how their case resolves.

Mediation in a New York divorce

If you’ve begun the process of a divorce in New York or you’ve started thinking about getting divorced, you may have heard the word mediation. You might wonder what mediation is and how to use it to your advantage. Mediation is a process that helps the parties discuss their disagreements in a formal setting. Mediation helps the parties work towards a resolution in a constructive way.

Is mediation the same thing as just talking to the other side in a divorce?

No, mediation isn’t exactly the same thing as talking directly to the other side in a divorce. A mediation proceeding is a guided process. The courts allow for mediation and structure it based on proven methods for resolving cases. The court isn’t just trying to waste your time and get another case off the docket. Instead, mediation is a proven process for resolving cases in a cost-effective way. It can benefit the parties, and that’s why the courts ask and even order parties to participate in mediation as part of their divorce proceedings.

What happens in a New York divorce mediation proceeding

If you’ve heard that your case is being sent to mediation, it’s important to understand what to expect from the process. You work with your New York divorce attorneys in order to set up a mutually agreeable date and location for the mediation. A mediator is always trained, and they may be another attorney. Professional training helps the person who runs your mediation to reduce conflict and make the mediation session productive.

A mediation session usually begins by reviewing the rules for mediation. Common rules involve letting each person finish their thoughts without interrupting. You might also have to agree to confidentiality as part of the mediation process in order to allow the parties to speak their minds freely.

You might all stay in the same room for mediation. The mediator might also separate the parties and travel from room to room. You have opportunities to caucus with your attorney in order to discuss strategy.

What happens if we reach an agreement in a divorce mediation?

If you reach an agreement in your divorce mediation, you prepare the paperwork, and you sign it right away. The mediation agreement is enforceable by the court even if you only wrote it out on paper. You can create a cleaner copy for the court to sign later.

A mediation agreement may resolve only some of the issues in the case. For example, it’s common for a divorce mediation to resolve child custody issues but not property issues. If you’re unable to resolve all of the issues in your case, the parts of the case that you resolve at mediation are enforceable if you sign an agreement. The remaining issues can still proceed to trial. If you don’t resolve any issues in your case, you simply proceed to trial on all of the issues as though the mediation session had never happened.

How do you make mediation productive in a New York divorce case?

There are things that you can do in order to set yourself up for success at mediation. First, one of the key jobs of your attorney is to help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case under the law. If you know that you’re likely to win primary physical custody if your case goes to trial, you can hold firm on the custody issue during mediation. The more you know about where you sit on the law, the more likely you are to come out of mediation with an agreement that fairly represents your interests.

It’s also important to consider what your absolute wants are in the divorce and where you can be flexible. For example, it might be very important for you that the children live with you primarily and continue to attend the same schools. However, you may be able to be more flexible when it comes to spring break or summer break parenting time. One of the benefits of mediation is that it allows the parties to make creative agreements that the court doesn’t typically order. With the right mindset, mediation can be a productive way to resolve your New York divorce case.

Can I appeal the mediated agreement if I felt forced to sign?

The divorce process often includes mediation, which is a confidential situation. When you cannot come up with an agreement with your spouse to split your assets and debts, it might become necessary to deal with a mediator. This is a third-party person with no ties to either of you who is given the task of helping you come to an agreement on your divorce settlement in a calm and peaceful environment. Mediation isn’t always fun for couples, but it is designed to be productive and help people figure out what they need and how they can handle the situations life throws at them.

What you should know about mediation is that you’re not required to make any sort of agreement. It’s the hope that you do, but it’s not a requirement. You’re not forced to stay in mediation until you both agree on every aspect of your divorce settlement. If it’s not working, it’s not working. Some couples realize at some point they aren’t willing to negotiate on certain aspects of your divorce, and you might decide you’d rather fight it out with a judge there to help.

You are not forced to sign any paperwork. The only time you should sign anything in mediation is when you are done with your mediated agreement and you agree to it. If you do not agree to it, do not sign it. It’s not illegal to forgo signing something you don’t agree with. In fact, it’s illegal for anyone else to force you into signing an agreement you are not happy with.

I signed a mediation agreement I did not agree with, what do I do?

Now that you’ve signed it, ask yourself if you felt forced to do this or if you did it because you agreed to it in the moment. If you agreed to it in the moment and you’ve changed your mind after getting home and thinking about it, it’s a different situation. If you signed it because you felt overwhelmed or pressured into signing it, you do have options.

You need proof you were forced to sign. A judge is not going to let you walk into a courtroom and claim duress without some form of proof. People do this all the time just because they make a different decision later. If you have proof you were forced to sign the agreement, now is the time to provide that. Show the judge anything that corroborates your story. Do you have text messages from your spouse threatening to take the kids from you if you don’t sign the agreement giving him the house?

Do you have phone records that show his or her attorney called you repeatedly and harassed you to sign the mediation agreement even though you didn’t want to? Any proof you have that you were coerced into signing against your will is necessary if you want to have the agreement overturned and revised. If you don’t have proof, there is very little you can do to change the agreement and have a judge decide to let you make any alterations. It’s unfortunate when you are forced into signing and can’t prove it, which is why you should never allow anyone to threaten you or cause you to feel you need to do something you’re not comfortable doing.

Call an Attorney

The best way to handle a situation such as this is with the help of an attorney. An attorney knows your rights, how you can get through this, and what to do to help you with the situation. You might not know what to do right now, but your attorney can provide you with excellent advice and a chance to appeal the mediation agreement if you were forced. Call now to find out what you can do to help change this situation.



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