Mediation FAQ

Skilled New York Divorce & Family Lawyer Answers Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation

While there are several ways to get divorced under New York law, alternatives to traditional divorce trials have been gaining in popularity. Alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or collaborative law encourage compromise and amicable discussion. However, while both options have benefits, Jonathan Katz, Esq. believes mediation with legal representation is a better choice for couples who want to take control of the process in a reasonable fashion while making sure their legal and financial interests are protected.

Learn more about mediation and how Mr. Katz’ more than 30 years of experience in family law may be able to assist in expediting your divorce process while safeguarding your rights.

  1. What is the Difference between Traditional Mediation and Mediation with Legal Representation?
  2. Can You Describe How Mediation with Legal Representation Works?
  3. What are the Main Benefits of Mediation with Legal Representation?
  4. What Types of Issues Can Be Managed during Mediation with Legal Representation?
  5. What is the Mediator’s Job in During Mediation When Lawyers are Present?
  6. How Can I Be Sure All the Important Issues are Covered in Mediation with Legal Representation?
  7. Will Opting for Mediation with Lawyers Save Me Money?
  8. If We Opt for Mediation, Do We Have to Go to Court?
  9. If we come to an Agreement during Mediation, How Will it Be Filed and Will it be Enforceable?
  10. What Happens if We Cannot Come to an Agreement During Mediation?
What is the Difference between Traditional Mediation and Mediation with Legal Representation?

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution often used in family law disputes such as divorce throughout NY including Poughkeepsie, New Paltz and Kingston. In mediation, each spouse agrees to meet with a neutral party, the mediator, and agrees to work in good faith to discuss and attempt to reach a compromise on all relevant issues. The mediator’s job is not to offer legal advice but instead to facilitate communication and assist the parties with writing out a mediation settlement that will eventually be filed with the court.

When couples opt for mediation with legal representation, they benefit from the services of a skilled family law mediator like Mr. Katz and they are protected by their own personal family lawyers. This process offers a level of legal protection that is not only missing from the traditional mediation process but is an extremely important component of making sure the entire effort works well. When attorneys join the mediation sessions, says Mr. Katz, each party has their own lawyer by their side offering legal guidance, explaining their rights and representing their short and longer-term interests.

Mediation is non-binding until an agreement is signed and filed with the local family court. If either spouse wants to end mediation they can file for a traditional divorce and appear before a family judge who will make decisions about assets, debts, the children, support and more.

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Can You Describe How Mediation with Legal Representation Works?

The two spouses, their attorneys, and the mediator meet in one or more sessions. As the mediator, Mr. Katz will outline the way the process will work being sure to promote respect between the parties throughout the session. The parties agree to make their best effort to communicate and compromise in an effort to create a win-win solution on the various important topics such as asset and debt distribution, child custody and support, alimony, any business–related issues, etc. Short-term issues, such as who will stay in the marital home or whether and when it will be sold. Longer term issues will also be discussed including alimony, college expenses for the children, etc.

Once the mediation is completed, and all the topics have been raised, discussed and solutions agreed upon, a binding settlement agreement will be filed with the local family court.

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What are the Main Benefits of Mediation with Legal Representation?

There are many similarities to traditional mediation:

  • A neutral party, the mediator, will set forth the tone for the mediation sessions and will make sure that respectful communications and discussion are observed.

  • The divorcing spouses engaging able to have more control over the process and decision-making rather than handing it over to the courts.

  • Additionally, for couples with children, mediation is a great time to set the tone of parental communications going forward.

  • Statistics reveal that mediated divorced settlements tend to be followed with less stress and fewer disagreements in the future because both parties had a stake in crafting the agreement.

  • Mediation may be a less expensive alternative to a traditional divorce trial.

The two most important benefits of mediation with legal representation are also the main differences between the two processes:

  1. You will be legally represented and protected by your divorce attorney (as will your spouse).

  2. You both will have the benefit of a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer, Jonathan D. Katz, Esq., as your mediator. He will work closely with the two attorneys to make sure all pertinent issues are resolved and that amicable discussion leads to win-win solutions.

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What Types of Issues Can Be Managed during Mediation with Legal Representation?

Any topic that pertains to divorce is up for discussion during the mediation sessions including (but not limited to):

  1. Equitable distribution of assets and debts
  2. Real estate
  3. Child custody
  4. Child support
  5. Alimony or spousal support
  6. Business issues

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What is the Mediator’s Job in During Mediation When Lawyers are Present?

A mediator is a neutral party who helps to facilitate the mediation process. In an effort to help couples resolve the various issues involved in divorce – asset division, child custody and support, alimony, etc. – the mediator makes sure each party has ample time to speak and asks questions to encourage the parties to clarify any points of contention or confusion. However, in traditional mediation, where there are no lawyers, the mediator’s job is not to explain laws nor to advise the parties about family laws.

Jonathan Katz, both an experienced and skilled divorce lawyer and mediator, can work with both parties’ lawyers to make sure the process runs smoothly and that all pertinent legal issues are settled fairly.

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How Can I Be Sure All the Important Issues are Covered in Mediation with Legal Representation?

First off, you and your spouse will be represented by lawyers. Your attorney will be working to make sure all the issues relevant to your case are covered during the mediation sessions. Of course, this requires advanced free consultation with your attorney so that your issues and concerns are known and can be properly addressed. By law, it’s your attorney’s job to protect your rights and negotiate in your best interests.

Secondly, Mr. Katz is a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer who has been guiding couples through divorce for more than 30 years. He is well-versed in all of New York’s family laws and, as your chosen mediator, he will be in a position to work closely with the two lawyers so that all topics are covered and parties are protected.

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Will Opting for Mediation with Lawyers Save Me Money?

The answer is: it depends. Most divorce lawyers work on an hourly basis and they charge according to their experience. The mediator has a set fee, as well. Mediation eliminates the need for court appearances and drawn-out negotiations so it stands to reason that your legal bill may very well be less than it would be in a traditional divorce trial. That being said, each case is different. A divorce that doesn’t involve children or property, for example, may take far less time to mediate than a more complex, high asset case with child custody and support issues. When you contact Mr. Katz about hiring him to be the neutral mediator in mediation, he can give you a better idea about the complexity of your case.

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If We Opt for Mediation, Do We Have to Go to Court?

In most cases, both party’s lawyers can file the settlement paperwork that is agreed to during mediation proceedings. Neither client should need to appear in court at all.

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If we come to an Agreement during Mediation, How Will it Be Filed and Will it be Enforceable?

Both lawyers will be responsible for filing the appropriate paperwork with the court system at the conclusion of the successful mediation process. The process itself of mediation is non-binding – meaning either party can stop the negotiations and opt for a traditional divorce trial. However, once the settlement documents drawn up during mediation are signed and filed, the document is fully binding and enforceable.

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What Happens if We Cannot Come to an Agreement During Mediation?

Mediation allows divorcing couples to take control of the process with the assistance of chosen legal representatives. The addition of a neutral party, the mediator, offers structure and often is successful in preventing the process from breaking down. However, if the parties cannot come to an agreement, mediation is non-binding. This means you can still file for a traditional divorce trial in your local family court where a presiding judge will make decisions in your case regarding distribution of assets and debts, your children and various financial issues.

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Contact a Skilled Divorce Mediator to Learn More about Mediation in New York

Mediation with Legal Representation is an excellent way to get through the often-stressing divorce process with respect and dignity. With the assistance of attorneys and a skilled family law mediator like Mr. Katz, you can reach agreements on many important issues and avoid court.

Learn more about mediation by contacting Jonathan Katz today. He will fully explain the process to you.

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