Q. What is Mediation?
A. Mediation is a voluntary, cooperative settlement process in which a neutral professional helps you make practical, informed decisions to resolve your differences. It is used frequently and successfully by separating and divorcing couples who want to plan their futures rationally, in an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect. With the guidance of a trained mediator, you work together through a series of orderly steps to create a fair and reasonable agreement. The mediator helps you define the issues to be settled, gather and analyze the necessary information, and communicate effectively.
After evaluating your options, you–and only you–make the decisions that become the agreement. The goal of a successful mediation is to reach an agreement that is custom-made for your family, your finances, and your future. At the conclusion of the mediation process you will have a full and complete Settlement Agreement.
Q. Is mediation for everyone?
A. No. The only requirement for a successful mediation is an honest desire to discuss separation issues. However, some people are so filled with anger and resentments that it makes mediation impossible. These people who are so affected by the break-up of their marriage really need to retain a litigation attorney who will zealously represent you, making motions in court, demanding the production of documents, conducting depositions of the other party and witnesses, and vigorously representing you at trial. Litigation attorneys have developed a special set of skills, knowledge and techniques for this approach to conflict resolution.Attorney Allan Wolk can represent you either way.
Q. What about the children, custody and visitation?
A. In mediation, these issues are usually referred to as “parenting arrangements” which is a more cooperative phrase; terms such as “custody” and “visitation” can become fighting words and the children become pawns or victims of the battle between the parents. In litigation, where parents can not agree, usually one parent is determined to be the most fit and is granted custody and the other parent is granted visitation; usually alternate weekends and one or two nights during the week. In mediation, parents work to create a parenting arrangement which is responsive to the work demands of each parent and the needs and activities of the children. Often in mediation, through the good will which is generated, parents may not even set a strict schedule; instead, they agree each week to compare their schedules and the obligations of the children and decide which parent will pick the children up after school, who will get them to lessons or sports, who will provide dinner and who will help them with homework. Quite honestly, who can say what their schedule is for more than a few days or a week at a time? In this way, both parents and the children benefit with quality time spent with each other. You are involved in creating your own agreement, guided by Allan Wolk, family law attorney and Iris Wolk, social worker.
Q. What does mediation cost?
A. The average total cost of mediation for both parties will vary depending upon the level of agreement or disagreement between the parties, the complexity of the issues involved, and how long the agreement takes to complete. The average cost of a litigated divorce in New York is almost always going to be several times higher than the cost of a mediated divorce. The “emotional costs” of a litigated divorce can also be staggering, whereas mediation strives to make the process as constructive as possible. Mediation seeks to reduce the stress involved in a divorce, not exacerbate it (as too often happens in the adversarial system).
Q. What happens once the mediation process is completed?
A. The couple has at least two choices: 1) get divorced right away by both parties signed the Stipulation of Settlement and the divorce documents stating that the relationship has “irretrievably broken down for a period of six months or more” (commonly referred to as the “no fault” option), or 2) seek a legal separation and wait to finalize the divorce until a future date.
Q. My spouse refuses to try mediation, what can I do. We already hired attorneys and started litigation, what can we do?
A. Mediation is voluntary; the process is not binding and either party may stop mediation at any point short of signing the Property Settlement and Separation Agreement, which once signed is a valid and binding contract.A. It is always possible to call “time out” and request a general extension of time for settlement discussions to take place. The parties may participate in mediation and retain their attorneys to consult with, review documents prior to signing the same, and to finish the divorce once the mediation process is completed.
Q. Is a mediated agreement enforceable?
A. Once the parties have shared all relevant financial and related documents, reached agreement and signed a Property Stipulation of Settlemeny, this forms a contract which is valid and enforceable as such. Usually, parties who complete mediation have created an agreement which truly represents their decisions on the issues, so enforcement is not a problem. People respect and honor agreements which are made voluntarily. In litigation, it is not uncommon after a lengthy divorce for parties to continue fighting by each bringing actions for violations or changes to the Judgment of Divorce. Often, this type of agreement was reached after someone or both parties ran out of patience and/or money, and very reluctantly and unhappily agreed to the terms of divorce which were “hammered out”.
Portions of the above Frequently Asked Questions were taken from a statement from the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation (NYSCDM), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the highest professional standards of divorce mediation.
Below are some more questions…
Q: How do you get divorced if you cannot track down your spouse?
A: Hello. There are several steps that have to be followed. You have to show the court that you made a diligent effort to locate your spouse. Use of the internet can help here. If you find him, he can be served. If not, then a petition has to be filed showing your efforts and asking for substitute service thru the local newspaper. Call me for a free consultation. 845 634 8179
Q: If a person is married to a teamster and they divorce , what rights does the spouse of the teamster have ?
A: Hi, you will have the right to a marital portion of his retirement account, plus other equitable distribution rights For example, if you are married for 20 years and he has been a teamster for 15 years, you are entitled to one-half his pension. This will given to you by a court order and you thus will have your own pension. Call me for a free consultation. 845 634 8179
Q: Verbal fight daughter was here need to protect her from being takin away
A: I need more information to help you. You can call me for a free consultation at 845 634 8179
Q: How do I answer a divorce summons if I have only a few days left?
A: Don’t panic. You can either ask the court for an extension or temporarily answer the summons by yourself, saying that you are handling it pro se. Then, get an attorney who will contact the court and the other attorney with a notice of appearance. A summons does not mean that you have to appear in court, just answer. I will be happy to give you a free consultation. 845 634 8179
Q: In the state of new york do I need to be separated before I can get a divorce? If so how long do I have to be separated
A: No, you do not have to be separated prior to getting a divorce. We now have no fault–irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for 6 months or more. You can get a divorce right away. Call me for a free consultation and I will tell you all you have to know. 845 634 8179.
Q: Been married 8 months wanna get divorce,what is the process
A: First, consult with an attorney. If you have children and/or assets, you will need an agreement and divorce documents. If your spouse agrees, you can also do divorce mediation which is rapid, inexpensive and as painless as possible. Call me for a free consultation. 845 634 8179.