Divorce Mediation & Collaborative Law
Divorce litigation is expensive. It takes time, money, and is emotionally draining. Although the vast majority of all cases filed in court ultimately settle without going to trial, many couples have decided to try to resolve their differences without spending the time and money required to litigate their divorce in court, by pursuing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings such as divorce mediation or collaborative divorce.
Michael D. Weinstein has spent many years participating in divorce mediation and collaborative divorce, and believes strongly that alternatives to divorce litigation should be explored whenever possible.
What is Divorce Mediation?
The couple and the mediator meet in a series of divorce mediation sessions, during which the divorce mediator provides information about the parties’ legal options, gives each of the parties ample opportunity to speak of their concerns, and helps the couple try to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement of their divorce.
When an agreement has been reached on all issues to be addressed in the parties’ divorce, the mediator drafts a divorce or separation agreement for review by each of the parties and their attorneys.
Will We Have to Appear in Court After Divorce Mediation?
No court appearances are necessary by either party to the divorce if there is a written agreement on all required issues.
How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?
That depends upon the complexity of the issues involved, and ability of the parties to communicate and be flexible as they negotiate a fair agreement. Every divorce case is different, and every divorce mediation is different. However, the average divorce mediation divorce takes at least three to four mediation sessions.
Should I See a Lawyer During Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is never a substitute for the services of your own attorney, because a mediator acts as a neutral party, and does not represent the interests, or provide legal advice for the benefit of either individual party in the divorce. Both parties are encouraged to obtain independent legal advice during the divorce mediation process, and to have their lawyer review all documents before they are signed.
What if My Case is Too Complicated for Divorce Mediation?
No case is too complicated to be settled using divorce mediation. Parties frequently consult with outside experts such as accountants, appraisers, and financial planners to obtain the most accurate information possible during divorce mediation.
What Will Divorce Mediation Cost?
Far less than litigating your divorce! The parties pay an hourly fee for each divorce mediation session, plus a fee for the preparation of a divorce agreement and related uncontested divorce papers to be filed with the court. The divorce mediation sessions are paid for on a pay-as-you-go basis. The divorce agreement and court documents are paid for in advance.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is a process whereby each party hires a divorce attorney to represent them, and they agree to try to negotiate a divorce settlement out of court in a respectful and non-combative manner.
In a collaborative divorce the couple and their attorneys meet in a series of appointments to review the issues relevant the parties’ particular circumstances. They attempt to collaborate with each other and reach a fair and reasonable settlement of their divorce.
When an agreement has been reached on all issues, the attorneys draft a divorce agreement for the parties to review and sign, and if appropriate, divorce papers for filing with the court.
Will We Have to Appear in Court After a Collaborative Divorce?
No court appearances are necessary by either party if there is a written divorce agreement covering all required issues, and all of the necessary divorce documents are agreed upon and signed.
How Long Does Collaborative Divorce Take?
As with divorce mediation, that depends upon the complexity of the issues involved, and ability of the parties to communicate and be flexible as they negotiate a fair agreement. However, a collaborative divorce usually takes at least three to four appointments.
Will Our Agreement be Enforceable?
Agreements reached through divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce are generally just as enforceable as any other divorce agreement. The agreement is typically then filed with the court as part of the final divorce judgment, and thus becomes a form of order of the court.
We Don't Get Along Well - How Can We Possibly Mediate or Collaborate?
Although some couples are amicable and work well in divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce, there are also couples who are unable to communicate effectively, some of whom may become angry or highly emotional. A divorce mediator or collaborative attorney’s role is to assist couples in focusing on the key issues to be negotiated in their divorce, and to help them to work out the terms of their divorce as peacefully as possible.
My Spouse is Very Powerful - How Can I Hope to Be Successful?
A divorce mediator or collaborative divorce attorney will not allow one party to overpower the other. If one of the parties attempts to control the process, the divorce mediator or attorneys will stop the proceeding. Thus, people who consider themselves to be the "weaker" of the two spouses can be very effective. As one spouse said of her husband during a divorce mediation, "If he doesn’t listen to me, we'll end up spending a ton of money in court."
Which is Better, Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Divorce?
Different people prefer different methods. However, whichever form is used, an alternative dispute resolution will be a more peaceful and less costly option than divorce litigation.
Call the Family Law Office of Michael D. Weinstein for a free consultation.
Conveniently located in Tarrytown, close to White Plains, NY, in Westchester County. Also serving Rockland and Putnam Counties.
Divorce Attorney, Divorce Mediator, Divorce Expert.