We’ve all seen friends or family members endure long drawn out divorce battles with aggressive lawyers who seemed to escalate the conflict more than resolve it.
What you may not know is that there is a kinder, gentler way to divorce or separate. Divorce mediation involves the help of a neutral third party. This method requires the couple to work together to divide their assets and establish child custody arrangements, and at the same time preserve a decent relationship throughout the process.
In your first session, it’s ok and actually very normal to feel anxious. Fear, sadness may be creeping up on you during the first session as well. But the mediator is there to put you both at ease. The basics are covered and in my practice, the children, if there are any, are discussed first and will usually bring us all to a common ground. With years of experience in the Courts, working as a mediator in Family Court, and with a psychology background, we are able to work through the issues and find the options which best serve your family.
The goal is to fairly and equally divide our assets and to advocate for your children’s best interests in as few sessions as possible.
What you will need to bring or at least review:
• Pay stubs, plus statements for savings, checking, and retirement accounts
• Mortgage balances, credit card statements, and child care expenses.
• As my clients will attest my line is “everything you own and owe”
Beyond dividing up assets and making arrangements for children, mediation comes with heavy emotions.
The more information you share with each other, the less emotional the process will feel. It can be hard to fully trust a spouse you’re divorcing, since you wouldn’t be ending the marriage if you were on the best terms. But if you trust your mediator and the process, that will go a long way toward keeping your emotions out of it.
It’s key that you go into mediation fully prepared to compromise — beyond what you may have expected.
Remember, no one wins but the key is to be peaceful and come to a solution that works for all. It the mediator’s goal to help you stay focused on the goal of separating peacefully.
The mutual goal: to finalize the divorce without spending a fortune on legal fees or becoming enemies. It will work! Find a mediator who you are comfortable with and who knows the law. And you will find the kinder, gentler way to separate or divorce.
Robyn D. Weisman, Esq., Attorney, Mediator, Collaborative Lawyer, Director of Divorce Mediation & Family Services of New York, Ltd. 1-800-WE MEDIATE with offices in Melville and Long Beach, New York