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Is Mediation the Best Route for You?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a cost- and time-effective divorce option that enables couples to avoid contentious litigation. Two types of ADR used in family law in New York are mediation and the collaborative divorce[H1] process. Mediation employs the use of a trained, neutral third party, such as an attorney or other trained specialist, to assist a divorcing couple craft satisfying divorce and child custody agreements. In the collaborative process, each spouse is represented by a trained attorney and the group together works to create agreements that reflect the wishes of each party.

While collaborative divorce and mediation are alternatives to litigation, these methods may not be the best choice for you. Drawbacks to these processes include the following:

  • Communication: ADR may not be a good option for couples experiencing a volatile break-up. When partners are bitter, non-communicative, or hostile, mediation can quickly go awry and turn a low-conflict process into the first skirmish of a long divorce battle.
  • Integrity: If a spouse acts in bad faith — either hiding assets or attempting to manipulate his or her partner — mediation is a futile exercise.
  • Representation: Without advocacy by a family law attorney, either party in mediation may feel pressured to make uninformed concessions they would not otherwise agree to.

Under any circumstances, divorce is difficult. Before you make decisions that affect your future, contact an experienced divorce lawyer to choose the route through divorce that is best for you.


[H1]http://www.nycourts.gov/ip/collablaw/pdfs/CollFamLawbrochure10109.pdf

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