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What is Alternative Dispute Resolution in Long Island Divorces

If you are going through a divorce or thinking about divorce, make sure you contact the experts at Long Island Divorce Lawyers. Divorce can be an emotional and terrifying experience. The decision to do it, and to ensure you are prepared for life after requires thoughtful planning and preparation. When feeling vulnerable and angry, the idea of testifying before a New York judge in court can be “one more thing” that is too much. Even if the divorce is a mutual decision, and an amicable one, the legal process can be overwhelming, costly, and time consuming.

Luckily, there are other options for dispute resolution in a divorce that can be private, therapeutic, and faster. This may meet your needs or the needs of your partner. Long Island Divorce Lawyers are experience in alternative dispute resolution proceedings as a method to finalize a divorce.

Alternative dispute resolution proceedings in a divorce permits you to resolve any issues that arise during the divorce proceedings (e.g., separating property, discussing spousal supports, or making decisions about children). The negotiations occur in a comfortable office space/conference room, avoiding court. Alternative dispute resolution allows you and your partner to come to a voluntary settlement about how you want your divorce to be handled with the support of experienced divorce attorneys.

There are two main types of alternative dispute resolution in divorce proceedings, (1) mediation, and (2) use of collaborative law.


In divorce mediation a neutral third party helps facilitate conversation and discussion between the two partners to resolve issues that need to be resolved in an uncontested divorce. A mediator (who is likely a lawyer) is not acting as a lawyer for either party. However, as an attorney, the mediator can draft a binding settlement agreement and uncontested divorce package at the conclusion of the mediation. Our attorneys at Long Island Divorce Attorneys have experience acting as a mediator. You can utilize us as a neutral third party in your divorce. However, if we are already representing you, or you would like our representation, we can assist you in working with a different third party neutral or can review any potential settlement that is reached in mediation with a different third party.

Mediation to resolve a divorce is one of the most population options for alternative dispute resolution of a divorce. It is a voluntary process, so both you and your partner have to demonstrate a willingness to participate. It focuses on your interests (what is it that you are worried about post-divorce? Child support? Equitable distribution of property? Visitation?) and is one of the least expensive dispute resolution options. It is also, typically, a much faster process and permits you to resolve issues and make future arrangements in a time sensitive way.
The goal of mediation is to collaboratively negotiated agreements for the future. It is particularly appealing for parents who want to maintain positive co-parenting relationships as their children grow. While it is voluntary, an initial mediation session may be ordered by a court. It is most effective when it is a voluntary decision by both partners.

The mediator’s role is to support discussion of critical terms and facilitate discussion about all elements and impacts of the decision. The partners involved set the agenda and control the results – this is not the mediator’s divorce settlement, but yours. The mediator is working to assist both partners in coming to a mutually agreeable solution that is fair to (or meets the interests of) both partners.

As mentioned above, using mediation avoids the court-room experience, can support positive discussions post-divorce, is a flexible fast process, and can discuss any key areas of concern or interest. As voluntary, collaborative process, it is often not the right option in high-conflict or highly-contested divorces.


If you don’t feel comfortable with mediation, but still do not want to pursue traditional litigation, there is another option: collaborative law. Collaborative law is a middle ground between voluntary mediation and litigation. It removes the decision-making from the court, and asks the partners to retain separate attorneys who assist the partners in coming to decisions about the issues. Collaborative law processes typically involve an entire “collaborative team” that includes mental health professionals, financial professionals, and child advocates/specialists.
Like mediation, collaborative law processes are voluntary and the final decision-making is held by the partners in the divorce – something not available in tradition court litigation. It is also informal and flexible. It can be adapted to the unique circumstances and issues in the forefront in the divorce. The costs varies based on attorney hourly fees, the length of time it takes, and how much time each partner spends working on issues with his/her attorney. As with mediation, it requires the parties to communicate productively with each other, so may not be good in high-conflict or highly-contested divorces, unless the issue is limited to one area where the team of collaborative professionals can assist.

To learn more about collaborative law, mediation, and any other alternative dispute resolution methods, review our web-site and make an appointment with one of our attorneys. We would love to talk with you about your unique situation and what type of resolution method might be appropriate in your situation. Divorce can be difficult and emotional. Work with the experts at Long Island Divorce Lawyers to help you navigate this process and design a future you can live with that protects your interests and assuages your fears.

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