Divorce Mediation Services In Orange County, New York
In addition to our firm’s superbly rated litigation attorneys at Strauss Kallus Kimple Dumais, PLLC, we also provide divorce mediation services with a team started by our attorney, Emeritus Richard Mandell, known nationally and statewide for his pioneering efforts in alternative dispute resolution. He is a former child support magistrate and is one of the most highly respected divorce mediators in New York State.
Richard Mandell founded the Orange County Mediation Project in 1982 (now the Dispute Resolution Center) and trained family court mediators throughout his 20-year career as a support magistrate. Since 2004, Mr. Mandell has been in private practice, concentrating on matrimonial and family law, criminal law, mediation and appeals.
In 2014, Richard Mandell was awarded the Outstanding Service Award from the Orange County Bar Association, and he won its esteemed Liberty Bell Award in 2001. In 2002, he won the Rose Rosen Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Orange & Sullivan Counties for his work in creating the parenting class known as the PEACE Program (now called Parents Apart).
Our firm’s approach to divorce mediation emphasizes a co-mediation process in which two lawyers are at the table with the two spouses. Co-mediation is an established model that provides a greater opportunity for support and creative options while still providing a less expensive alternative to litigation.
Divorce Mediation Frequently Asked Questions
Mediation is a fairly foreign process to many people, and you understandably may have questions and concerns. We are here to guide you through the mediation process. In the meantime, please see some answers to frequently asked questions below.
How does divorce mediation work?
Mediators are neutral facilitators who will help you work out the details of your separation agreement, typically over the course of three to five sessions. The issues that must be resolved involve sharing time with the children, dividing marital assets and setting appropriate amounts for child support and spousal maintenance.
Is mediation confidential?
Mediation is confidential in that the parties agree that mediators will not be called witnesses in any future litigation. The parties promise not to call the mediators as witnesses when they sign the retainer agreement at the beginning of the process.
Will the mediators be able to finalize our divorce?
The mediators are permitted in New York State to file uncontested divorce documents if the parties agree that they do so. The lawyer-mediators also have to be sure that the agreement meets the parties’ expressed needs, is fair and reasonable, and that the parties sign a statement to that effect in their agreement. The mediator is not representing either or both parties in the divorce; he or she is only acting as a neutral.
What are the benefits of mediation?
By working together to resolve their issues, participants in mediation decide how to structure their lives after divorce instead of leaving these decisions to the courts. Parties can craft their own parenting and financial plans to meet their own individual needs rather than be bound by the requirements of the law.
Are matrimonial mediators licensed and trained?
All mediators in our firm are licensed attorneys with significant experience in both contested and uncontested matrimonial matters. There is no separate license for mediation in New York, but all of our mediators have been certified as having completed the New York state-approved training program for matrimonial mediation in the Supreme Court and all have completed the training in collaborative divorce sponsored by the Hudson Valley Collaborative Divorce Association. Richard Mandell developed the training protocol for divorce mediators in New York State and has been a lecturer in over 50 mediation training programs in New York and throughout the country.
Will we have a court order to enforce our agreements?
After the Stipulation of Settlement has been signed, it is submitted to the court as part of the divorce judgment. The judgment of divorce incorporates the provisions of the agreement, and it is then enforceable in the Supreme and family courts.
Will mediation protect my right to alimony and child support?
The attorney-mediators will explain the applicable rules about maintenance and child support, and the parties will make their own decisions after considering the law. Mediation is voluntary, and each party should investigate and be aware of alternatives if they believe that mediation is not appropriate for them. The parties will be advised that a Supreme Court judge will not accept a judgment of divorce that does not adequately protect unemancipated children or one in which a financially dependent spouse has not been properly advised of his or her rights to spousal support.
How will I know if the mediation agreement is fair?
In explaining the law, our lawyer-mediators will describe the normative or typical outcomes in cases. Also, mediation participants will often use outside attorneys to review their agreement. Our lawyer-mediators can recommend such “review attorneys” if necessary.
When is a good time to start?
You can begin mediation as soon as you have mutually decided to divorce, whether you are still residing together or not. Interim agreements, often called “move-out agreements,” can be drafted to avoid the difficulties that come up in litigation when one party moves out before there is a court order.
What does our retainer cover?
The retainer agreement sets forth the financial arrangement between our firm and the divorcing couple. It sets forth the hourly rate and the amount required to be initially paid as the retainer. The retainer in a mediation case tends to be significantly less than the two parties would pay for two separate attorneys in a litigated divorce.
What if one of the parties has committed adultery or is perceived in some other way as having caused the breakup of the marriage?
While this is a painful situation, most mediation participants choose to file for an uncontested divorce rather than allege adultery or misconduct as part of the grounds. In October 2010, New York State became the last state to create “pure” no-fault grounds, so generally, fault grounds are no longer used. If relationship difficulties persist because of either the conduct or the feelings of either party, therapists trained in mediation can be brought in to assist in the discussions.
Call Us Today To Learn More About The Mediation Process
When you work with us, you receive the dedication, compassion and personalized attention you deserve. Call our Goshen, New York, law office at 845-360-2094 or email us to schedule a confidential consultation.