Divorce Mediation Attorneys in New York
Wisselman, Harounian & Associates offers clients mediation and divorce settlement services as alternatives to litigated divorce or family law proceedings. These options provide an alternative way to handle separation and divorce out of court, and can help save time and money.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Put simply, mediation is an out-of-court process for obtaining a divorce, legal separation, or resolving a custody dispute. In fact, mediation can be used for virtually all family law matters, including support, visitation, and property division. With mediation, the approach is centered on amicable negotiation and compromise.
Divorce mediation allows parties to resolve their marital dispute outside of the traditional courtroom setting, but each party can still have their own attorney to advise them along the way. It is less time-consuming, less expensive, and less emotionally stressful than a traditional courtroom divorce. It also gives the parties more control over the outcome of their marital dispute and, therefore, provides a fairer outcome for both of the parties.
Mediation is confidential and reaching an agreement is completely voluntary. In divorce mediation, both parties work together to identify problems and solutions, which promotes cooperation and therefore reduces the emotional costs of resolving a divorce. Parties are able to freely express their opinions about the issues and the results that they want to achieve.
During mediation, a neutral third party known as a mediator will help both parties to communicate throughout the process. The family law mediator helps the couple reach an agreement without the expense of litigation and court appearances. The mediator will negotiate terms of the divorce, but will not be responsible for making any decisions on the couple’s behalf.
You can find more information about divorce mediation on the following pages:
Is Divorce Mediation Right for You?
Mediation has the best chance of success when both parties get along with each other and are interested in forming an amicable legal separation or divorce agreement. Good candidates for divorce mediation are parties who feel they are able to negotiate for themselves during the mediation process, who feel free to openly express their needs and concerns, and who respect and listen to the other party's opinions and interests.
Whether or not divorce mediation is right for you will depend on a number of factors – all of which are unique to your case. Mediation is not always right for everyone, so make sure to consult a divorce attorney about your specific situation to make the best decision regarding how you should move forward with your divorce.
Generally, the following conditions are necessary for a successful divorce mediation process:
- Cooperation – Both parties should be willing to give their full efforts when negotiating with a mediator out of court. The sole mediator is impartial and helps both parties work out their differences, including helping them see the bigger picture and the benefits of avoiding litigation.
- Compromise – Parties that choose mediation do not have to agree on everything. That is a common myth about mediation. However, you should be willing to compromise and negotiate amicably.
- Honesty & Integrity – For mediation to be successful, parties must be able to freely express and communicate their needs and expectations and present reasonable demands. Regrettably, this is not always possible and alternatives to mediation must be pursued. These include cases involving abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, drug and alcohol issues, hidden assets or income, or paternity issues. Unrealistic demands or a vindictive streak can also get in the way of negotiations.
- An Experienced Mediator – This is extremely valuable because, after the parties reach an agreement, the mediator can also draft the legal settlement agreement and finalize the divorce. You do not have to go to another attorney to draw up the agreement. At Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, our mediator is a knowledgeable attorney with decades of experience.
Is Mediation Like Therapy?
Mediation is NOT therapy; however, an experienced mediator can help parties effectively and amicably communicate regarding issues pertaining to co-parenting, finances, and divorce. The end result of mediation is a written and signed separation or divorce agreement, not reconciliation of the parties.
What Do Divorce Mediators Do?
Divorce mediators act as a neutral third party to both spouses seeking a divorce. Mediators can help spouses communicate and negotiate custody and divorce terms – as well as terms for other related issues – in a way that addresses the concerns of both parties.
Mediators do not make decisions on behalf of clients and do not "battle" with opposing attorneys. In our office, the mediator is an experienced attorney, with a minimum of 20 years' experience in matrimonial and family law. Our mediator can make suggestions and recommendations to help parties reach an agreement based upon existing New York law.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
If mediation becomes an available option, it can provide many benefits.
Mediation is especially effective in shared parenting and joint custody situations where parents want to preserve an amicable parenting relationship. In our office, after the parties reach an agreement with the mediator, we draw up all of the required documents and court papers. There is no need to go to another attorney to draft these documents.
Mediation can save the parties a significant amount of time and attorney fees. Mediation is also typically less emotionally turbulent than litigation or cases in which disputes, aggression, or intense emotion are more likely to interfere with reaching an agreement.
Should I Use Mediation for My Divorce?
This is one of the most common questions we receive, and one that is difficult to answer without reviewing the particular circumstances of a case. Mediation is not always right for everyone. In some cases, including those involving domestic violence or disputes, mediation might not be an option at all. Mediation is simply one of several possible options you can explore as you determine the most appropriate method for finalizing your divorce.
Because your personal situation and desires will largely determine whether or not mediation is an option for you, it is best to have an experienced lawyer review your case. Even if mediation is not an option (for example, if your spouse refuses to consider it), we can still guide you toward an out-of-court settlement if it is the right strategy for your case.
Alternatives Dispute Resolution (ADR) & Collaborative Law
When divorce mediation is not possible, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is another viable option. The goal of ADR is to reach a divorce settlement with the assistance of attorneys while making all attempts to avoid time-consuming and costly litigation.
Collaborative law is another option similar to mediation in which spouses reach an agreement out of court through negotiations handled by two separate divorce lawyers.
Understanding Cooperative Divorce
Cooperative divorce, also known as uncontested divorce, is a situation where you and your spouse agree on all the important decisions regarding your case. These include decisions about child custody and visitation, division of assets and property, and payment of maintenance and child support. If you and your spouse are in complete agreement, this makes the divorce process much simpler and quicker.
Our experienced Great Neck divorce attorneys can help ensure you discuss all relevant issues with your spouse, and we can advise you on decisions that will affect your financial wellbeing and relationship with your children. From start to finish, our legal team can help you file the proper forms and represent you as you pursue a beneficial outcome.
For couples who are interested in working on reaching an amicable divorce resolution on all financial and divorce-related issues, an attorney-assisted divorce settlement can be an affordable and reasonable divorce process.
- This process requires a commitment from both parties to give their full effort when negotiating an out-of-court settlement. Litigation should never be an initial strategy, but a last resort. Grounds for divorce should be agreed upon from the outset.
- Parties should devote their efforts to reaching a custody and visitation agreement that provides the least disruption possible to the children. Joint custody and joint parenting should be explored. With many households having two working parents, shared parenting is often in the best interest of the children. Attorneys can help their clients create a customized schedule to meet the needs of the whole family.
- As for financial issues, it is extremely important for parties to be realistic about their expectations and to follow the advice of their attorneys. This includes being transparent about assets and income and producing necessary documentation in a timely matter.
- It is important to realize that many issues related to the children, including support and visitation, are not "written in stone." In the event of a change in circumstances for one or both parents, these can be modified in court after the divorce is settled. An experienced attorney can guide you on these issues.
It is important to consult with a lawyer to determine whether mediation or a divorce settlement is appropriate for your situation. Wisselman, Harounian & Associates is dedicated to improving the lives of our clients by demonstrating sensitivity and zealous advocacy. Since its founding in 1976, our firm has focused on developing and implementing advanced mediation techniques that can resolve even the most high-conflict cases.
Contact Our Divorce Mediation Firm in Great Neck Today
Our trained and experienced attorneys can assist you in analyzing the specific issues of your matter. We can help you create the most effective approach to settle the terms of your divorce. Our firm is always focused on arriving at a settlement that best suits the needs of your entire family.
Get more information about divorce mediation and divorce settlements and schedule your free consultation. Contact a Long Island divorce mediation lawyer at our firm! Call (516) 406-8500 now.
Derrick is extremely professional and meticulous, as well as patient and kind.- Former Client
Working with Jackie Harounian during difficult situations became a pleasurable experience.- Former Client
Your skill, patience, and calm disposition brought me reassurance.- Former Client
Lloyd has been the utmost advocate to me to help guide me through the most difficult situation of my life and to help protect my child.- Former Client
This firm should be on your shortlist for consideration in any divorce and/or custody matter.- Former Client