Below is an article written by Mediator Don Sinkov of New York. It is excellent & I think you will find it informative. Enjoy!
CHOOSE DIVORCE MEDIATION?
Separation and divorce are among the most painful and disruptive events an individual or family can experience. Tension quickly develops when a divorce is contemplated. The problems are both financial and emotional, deeply touching all members of the family.
This is not the time to place your lives in the hands of someone who will cause you additional financial hardship and prolonged litigation. Mediation of matrimonial matters are found in every State except New York. Mediators will not be found in courts in New York. You got to ask yourselves why?
Divorce Mediation aims at reducing tensions, not increasing it. With the help of a divorce mediator, couples negotiate their own settlement and learn the techniques for resolving future differences. Divorce Mediation is for couples who want to retain control over the decisions that affect their lives and don’t want their children caught in the middle.
Divorce Mediation is not just for couples who already know how to cooperate. Divorce Mediators show people how to work together productively in spite of their anger.
Sometimes during Divorce Mediation, other professional services are needed. A list of professional referrals is available including accountants, lawyers, financial planners, career counselors, psychotherapists and child psychologists.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
WHAT POINTS ARE DECIDED?
HOW DOES DIVORCE MEDIATION WORK?
Divorce mediators have special training in matrimonial law, financial planning, taxes, and the emotional effects of divorce on adults and children. The mediators will help you and your spouse work together to reach an agreement.
Mediators help couples separate their spousal role, which is ending, from their parental role, which is continuing. The mediators will help you focus on the relevant issues and help identify possible options. You will actively participate in the negotiations leading to reasonable solutions and a mutually satisfactory agreement that considers the needs of all family members.
The mediator is not an advocate for either party and does not make any decisions. Instead, the mediator helps you explore all options and their consequences.
Mediation is also for couples who do not have children, or whose children are grown.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE AND WHAT IS THE COST?
The average length of time it takes to reach an agreement is 2-6 hours. Sessions are scheduled for two hours each and are usually a week or two apart.
Divorce Mediation time is charged on an hourly basis. The cost for a mediated settlement, including the cost of attorney review, is usually less than one third of a traditionally litigated settlement because you, and not your lawyers, are doing the negotiating.
WILL I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
After mediation, an attorney, with your consent, will draft the legal agreement which becomes a binding contact. Don works with experienced attorneys who will prepare your Agreement. Each party may have the agreement reviewed at his or her own cost, or waive review by an attorney before signing it. The agreement may then be used as the basis for an uncontested divorce.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
At the first session, the mediation process is explained in detail. Divorce Mediation is informal, but thorough. Don will guide you through the entire process, so don’t worry. You don’t have to be a great negotiator. He will make sure that everything that needs to be addressed is covered, and that nothing is left to chance.
Once the process is understood, the real work begins. With the help of the mediator, the couple starts by discussing their concerns. These can be financial concerns, such as division of marital assets and marital debt, or how bills will be paid; emotional concerns, including questions like, “What do I do now?”, or, “If my spouse moves out, how will I pay the mortgage?”, or, “What about insurance?”; or practical concerns, which encompass many areas, such as who will live in the marital residence or where the children will live. Step by step, decisions are made. During this process, care is taken to make sure that the needs of all family members are considered.
Once a tentative agreement has been reached, a formal agreement is drafted.
Post-divorce mediation can help you resolve issues that arise later, such as parenting and scheduling, financial matters and communication.
The reason post-divorce issues arise, is simply that people’s lives change. Your lives, your children’s lives, and living arrangements are some of the things that might change. Even though you covered all the issues relevant at the time of the divorce, there is no way to predict how future events might bring about the need for an adjustment in your agreement. As an example, the visitation agreement that you made initially might need amendment in light of a new job or a new relationship. As your children grow, their needs change, too, and what was appropriate for a six year old, might not work for a teenager.