New York Firm Explains Benefits of Divorce Mediation vs. Litigation
Long Island family law attorneys guide you through the appropriate process
When it comes to divorce, most people imagine an adversarial, confrontational experience. But many couples are able to work cooperatively on their divorce. The fact is you have several options, but it’s important to understand which process is most appropriate for your circumstances. At Tabat, Cohen, Blum, Yovino & Diesa, PC in Garden City and Hauppauge, we explain everything you need to know to make an informed choice. If you are weighing the comparative benefits of divorce mediation versus litigation, we can apply how each method might work given the facts of your case. The first step to obtaining an optimal result is choosing the right process. Our knowledgeable attorneys are ready to help.
How does divorce mediation differ from litigation?
Mediation is a cooperative process where a neutral third party guides the spouses toward a mutually acceptable result. Unlike some other types of alternative dispute resolution, mediation is voluntary and nonbinding. It usually takes place in an office rather than a courthouse. The goal is to arrive at a marital settlement covering your essential divorce issues — spousal support, child custody, child support, and division of property — that you can present to the court for approval. Litigation refers to a hearing in court in which each side presents evidence to the judge. The goal is to convince a judge that your arguments are correct in order to obtain a ruling in your favor.
What is the role of divorce mediator in New York?
A divorce mediator guides discussions between parties, but does not provide legal advice to either side. The mediator sets the agenda for each session and records the points of agreement. Should the spouses reach consensus, the mediator helps to develop the settlement agreement. Each spouse should have their own attorney to prepare them for mediation sessions and review the agreement.
Advantages of divorce mediationMediation services are appropriate for couples who respectfully disagree and can work constructively together. Advantages of mediation include:
- Time saving — You work on your own schedule and are not held back by the court calendar.
- Reduced costs — Since you don’t go to trial, you save on all associated expenses. When you need to hire an expert for an opinion, you can split the cost with the other party.
- Greater control over the outcome — You decide what terms you will accept, and you don’t risk an adverse ruling by the court.
- Greater privacy — Mediation discussions are completely confidential, as opposed to open court where there is a public record.
- Less stress — Working cooperatively usually causes less emotional turmoil than confronting a spouse in court.
Even if you don’t reach a complete settlement, you can present a partial agreement to the court and only litigate the outstanding issues.
Advantages of divorce litigation
Mediation is not appropriate for all divorces. If there is distrust or a history of domestic violence, a cooperative process will probably not succeed. Litigating the case gives you added advantages:
- Subpoena power — If a spouse is hiding assets, litigation enables you to compel disclosure of financial records. You can also demand records related to income, employment and other facts relevant to the proceedings.
- Court discipline — Some parties to a divorce deliberately abuse the process to punish the other side. Judges are empowered to cite parties for contempt if improper tactics are used.
Of course, litigation is more expensive and time consuming, so a trial is typically viewed as a last resort in cases where spouses are far apart.
Contact a knowledgeable Long Island lawyer to discuss divorce mediation and litigation
Tabat, Cohen, Blum, Yovino & Diesa, PC provides divorce litigation representation and mediation services from offices in Garden City and Hauppauge. To schedule a consultation, please call 631-587-5100 or contact us online. We have two offices for your convenience.