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  • NYC Divorce Mediator

    Hiring a divorce mediator in NYC is an alternative to the traditional divorce process. In COVID-19, divorce rates have skyrocketed, for both couples who have been married for many years as well as recently married couples with less experience working through challenging times and extreme stressors. Fortunately, a peaceful resolution is possible without litigation when you work with a divorce mediation service.

    In fact, a modern-day divorce is no longer guaranteed to have the same adversarial and war-like approach that it did as little as 15 to 20 years ago. In fact, many marriages now are ended amicably and, most importantly, peacefully through divorce mediation services. Mediator and divorce lawyer Paul Rudder has been a matrimonial lawyer for over 30 years, and is highly experienced not only in divorce, but divorce mediation and family law issues for local Clients. His presence not only provides you with representation equipped with the knowledge and experience to present your case properly, but the temperament and patience to help you manage through the emotional turbulence that is standard in almost any divorce. Whether it is in person, or via Zoom due to the current COVID situation, mediator Paul Rudder is available to represent you in your divorce. Schedule your consultation with a New York Divorce Mediation Lawyer now! Call (212) 826-9900 or click here to contact us online.

    What is Divorce Mediation?

    Divorce mediation is a form of dispute resolution, and serves as an alternative to the rougher, more adversarial and aggressive form, which is a litigated divorce. Almost always, mediation leads to an amicable split that leaves both parties walking away feeling as though the split is fair and equal. Parenting plans, child support, and division of assets are all issues that can be addressed in mediation, as well as alimony amounts and duration of time. Mediation is ideal for couples that don’t necessarily have the funds to get into a lengthy litigated divorce, or have a simple divorce, which in this context would imply a small amount of divisible assets, and moreover, the parties are not at completely at odds with one another. If the parents can agree on most of the key issues, such as custody, assets and alimony, divorce mediation can be a very expedited and easy process to get to the finish line. However, both spouses need to be willing to voluntarily attend the mediation meetings.

    Top Benefits of Divorce Mediation

    Divorce mediation in NYC has four key benefits to the families involved:

    • Save money: Because there aren’t numerous NYC court dates, and meetings with your attorney in preparation for court, divorce mediation almost always ends up being less expensive than a court battle. With this being the case, couples that don’t have the resources to afford an attorney as representation can turn to mediation to ease the pressure on their budget.
    • Less stress on you and your family: Without the confrontational nature of a litigation, especially one that is often seen in a custody battle, parents are able to work out custody issues with their child’s best interests in mind, as opposed to the raw emotion that can rear itself in a custody battle. Mediators are there to help keep the focus on respectful and productive dialogue, and they keep the peace during a time that is usually heated and emotion-filled, which often leads to the process getting stuck as parties attack each other.
    • Privacy: Unlike in a litigated divorce, wherein any and all documents submitted are considered public record, mediation offers privacy and confidentiality with your private information. Depending on numerous factors, including a personal preference for privacy, parties may want to use mediation to stay out of the public eye, or at least keep their dirty laundry out of public record.
    • Faster: Because the courts are heavily flooded with cases, the speed of a litigated divorce process is often at the mercy of the court’s schedule availability, which usually leaves huge gaps of time between court dates, sometimes as much as 6 months. This not only drags the process on exponentially, but also leaves a lot of time for trouble to brew, as parties can get anxious and impulsive, feeling as if the court has forgotten them, and the need to take control. However, in mediation, the process is controlled by the parties, and that includes the pace at which the process takes place.

    The Role A Divorce Mediator Plays In Your Divorce

    With Paul Rudder as your NYC divorce mediator, he will work with both spouses to address the core issues that need to be figured out in order to resolve the divorce amicably, equally and efficiently. As you and your spouse work towards ending the marriage, he will be focusing on both of your wants and preferences, and use time-tested methods of fostering communication and cooperation, while bringing his own ideas and opinions to the table to offer to the stressed parties. At the end of the process, he will personally draft you and your spouses’ agreement, as well as all other necessary paperwork needed to finalize the divorce.

    The Steps of Divorce Mediation

    You will first meet with expert NYC divorce mediator Paul Rudder with your spouse during which he will get an understanding of your particular situation, and use that to detail the groundwork for the next steps. After evaluating the way you and your spouse are able to communicate, as well as assessing the key issues at hand, Mr. Rudder will lay a foundation he believes maximizes the likelihood that the mediation will ultimately reach an amicable and peaceful end.

    The next step is information-gathering, which is crucial as it provides all the tangible facts of your case. While you will share a significant amount of information during the first meeting, this step requires more particular information, such as tax returns, bank statements and the like. All of this information helps paint a picture of the marriage, and in turn, Mr. Rudder will begin to outline what the agreement will likely resemble, based on this information. This process involves him educating you and your spouse on the general legal rules that are potentially applicable, such as New York State  laws that dictate how assets and debts are to be divided, and how custody and support is decided. This legal information is what his outline is based off, as they are generally implemented with equality and the best interests of the children in mind. This step often takes more than one meeting to be fully satisfied.

    The third step has the spouses outlining their reasons for their respective interests, with the help of attorney Paul Rudder to adequately express your ideas and feelings. This step is often referred to as framing, and is key in aiding each spouse to understand the other and their perspective, and reach an amicable agreement. Sometimes, it turns out that both spouses feel the same on a key issue, such as custody or division of marital assets, which can help move the process along. But, as Mr. Rudder will stress throughout the process, the final divorce agreement must be just that – an agreement. Both parties must honestly and fully feel as though the mediation resulted in an equal split, and doesn’t feel as though you signed away rights or interests that you actually care dearly about.

    Finally, Mr. Rudder will draft a settlement agreement that will be reviewed by both spouses and, if they choose, with their respective legal advisers. With the agreement in writing and all issues resolved and uncontested, a formal settlement agreement will be organized and signed, and subsequently filed with the court.

    Tips for Initiating Divorce Mediation with Your Spouse

    You will definitely want to approach your spouse with the idea of alternative dispute resolution, as opposed to divorce. It must be agreed to by both parties. One party cannot force or coerce the other to attend and go through mediation. Research the steps of mediation, as your spouse may not be familiar. Go over how this process is time/money saving compared to litigation and, if children are involved, that it can be less jarring for the family.

    How To Prepare For Divorce Mediation in New York – Your Checklist

    In preparation of the first meeting, it would be wise to have the following ready, at least on your end, if not by both spouses. These things will help Mr. Rudder evaluate your specific case thoroughly before the more specific information is needed, and give you an idea of the process that is to come. You should have prepared:

    • Your perspective of the current state of the marriage,
    • Your “story” of how you arrived at this current state
    • Basic information, including length of marriage, age of kids, and income

    Familiarizing yourself with what is to be expected in the New York mediation process may help lessen the shock and emotion that emerges with ending a marriage. Even removed from the courtroom, this process can be upsetting at some times, as the entire marriage is essentially autopsied, which can cause raw emotion to come up. However, Paul Rudder has successfully worked with some of the most complicated clients and cases, and is sensitive to the vulnerable state that you and your spouse may be in.

    What Is A Divorce Settlement Agreement or Mediation Agreement?

    A mediation agreement is nothing short of a legal contract between the parties, and is subject to the state’s contract law. It is a binding contract that explains the end of the marriage, and what is to be executed in the future, after the divorce. Any breach of this agreement is treated like any other breach of contract, such as an employment contract.

    Common Myths About Divorce Mediation

    – Women are at a disadvantage: With the overall goal of mediation being an equal and amicable dissolution of the marriage, there is no inherent disadvantage for either spouse, regardless of gender. With an unbiased and neutral third-party, neither party starts off on the wrong foot.

    – Mediation is for those who can’t handle divorce: By participating in mediation, you actually have a firm grasp on your future and the results of the divorce. If anything, you are more involved on a personal level with mediation than you are handing the right of decision making to a judge in litigation.

    – No lawyers are needed in mediation: On the contrary, most spouses still want a private attorney, to advise them on the law and what interests they may have in assets or other areas that you may have overlooked. Lawyers are also sometimes necessary at the later stages of mediation, such as preparing the paperwork needed by the court, and coaching during the framing process.

    Divorce Mediation FAQS

    • With a mediator, you and your spouse will meet and sit with them to discuss how to dissolve the marriage, with a goal of equality and agreement in the final settlement.
    • No, you personally do not need to have to court in NYC.
    • Usually, the process requires at least three multi-hour sessions, spread out over a month or two. If the case is more complex, this can be extended to 4-6 months.
    • Yes, both spouses must voluntarily attend the mediation meetings, whether it be in person or via virtual call-in.
    • Yes, both spouses must voluntarily attend the mediation meetings, whether it be in person or via virtual call-in.
    • Yes, an NYC court judge needs to approve the final settlement, after thorough review, in order for it to be official.
    • Because mediation offers a less adversarial environment, the stress level for all parties included, especially children, is eased substantially. The drama is generally not present, and a custody battle is avoided, which is always in the best interest of children, who are often traumatized from the process.
    • In line with state laws regarding child support and custody, the mediator will most likely advise any child-related issue to be resolved on par with the law.
    • If the spouses are not able to look at each other without feeling supreme hate, or even communicate on an appropriate level, mediation most likely will not work. This process requires both parties being open-minded and oriented towards an equal and amicable agreement.
    • On a national average, the cost tops out at $1,500, with ranges from under $1k, and as high as $8,000. Ultimately, your unique case and issues will dictate the final cost.
    • In most cases, the fees are split equally between the spouses. However, it is very common that at the closing of the mediation, a point of compromise may be that one side take on the burden of paying the final cost of mediation, in return for meeting in the middle, or further, on a particular issue.
    • Although only married people can get divorced, some civil/domestic partnerships may have assets mixed between the parties, and may require a neutral third-party to address the issues and help foster communication and cooperation between the two parties.
    • In the sense that both voices are heard equally, and that both sides are looking for a resolution, yes, divorce mediation is like couples therapy. Also, like in couples therapy, a neutral third-party is moderating the conversation, keeping it peaceful and productive. However, unlike in couples therapy, both parties are more or less aware that the relationship is over and they are working towards dissolving the marriage, instead of working on fixing it.
    • If mediation is not successful, litigation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution are still available to pursue to legally end the marriage.
    • In a contested divorce, the parties strongly disagree on many of the key issues, and feel that a judge is the right party to rule on how the marriage will be dissolved, and how the key issues are resolved. In mediation, you and your spouse have full control of the agreement and results, and generally, the parties are able to communicate somewhat effectively.
    • In a divorce mediation, you and your spouse will agree on any and all decisions and outcomes, working to effectively cooperate, and be willing to compromise if necessary. The third party does not dictate the decisions, but will oversee them and helps steer you and your spouse to an agreeable settlement.
    • If you already have an attorney, you do not need to fire them, as a divorce mediator is not considered your legal representation, and therefore does not require you to switch attorneys. However, you may do so if you choose to in the middle of your case.

    Mediation is typically less expensive, less stressful, and faster than a divorce trial. During mediation you and your spouse have the opportunity to exchange informaton and views on what is to happen in your divorce, giving you both control of the process. If you were to take your issues and file for court action (divorce), the court sets the time tables and the assigned judge makes all the decisions. 

    Once all negotiations are settled, the mediator, or one of your attorneys (if you choose to have one involved) will formulate an agreement. They may also create a parenting schedule or plan if you have children. These documents set forth the terms and provisions you and your spouse agreed to and will now be filed together with the rest of your divorce paperwork to become part of the divorce resolution and judgment. These papers are binding legal documents, subject to all legal enforcement proceedings.

    Prior to the execution of any Agreement either party may terminate the mediation process without penalty.  However, once the process has been completed and the ensuing settlement (mediation) agreement has been signed,  your dissatisfaction with the mediation settlement does not obviate its validity.  In various scenarios it may be possible to engage an attorney to initiate legal proceedings and seek to rescind the mediated agreement. This is generally a very difficult task as a New York Court would have to find a substantial legal reason to conclude the Agreement to be unjust, unfair, and unenforceable.  You are better served by having your legal representative review and consider the mediation Agreement prior to your signing it and have your representative give an opinion as to its propriety and validity. 

    The most important consideration when choosing a mediator is to select someone both parties feel comfortable with and trust. It is a good idea to interview several potential mediators to determine their level of experience and familiarity with situations or families similar to yours;  and also to identify the manner in which the mediation is to proceed. When all is said and done, the best mediator-for you and your spouse- is the one that makes you feel the most comfortable and gives every indication they will proceed in a fair, just and equitable way. 

    A divorce attorney advises and counsels you and only you (i.e. not your spouse) on specific legal issues and aspects and acts and argues on your behalf throughout the divorce process. A divorce mediator is “neutral” whose fiduciary duty is owed to both parties.  The Mediator’s assignment is to help you and your partner communicate, negotiate, and resolve the areas of conflict and concern and must not seem to act on behalf of either party while steering them toward a united decision. 

    How To Find A Divorce Mediator? Call Paul E Rudder!

    If you believe that divorce mediation services can benefit you and your spouse as you close your marriage, it is important to find a mediator that considers both parties interests, and can ensure that neither party is taken advantage of, or is surprised by any result or future circumstance. The marriage should close with you and your spouse feeling that you walked away with a fair settlement regarding your divorce. Paul Rudder is an experienced Manhattan based divorce mediator, litigator, and child custody attorney, and is available in person or via virtual communication.

    Call today at 212-826-9900. We provide divorce mediation to couples who are located throughout Manhattan, including midtown Manhattan, extending throughout the 5 Boroughs of NYC.

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    Contact Paul Eric Rudder

    Paul E. Rudder, ESQ – NYC Divorce Mediation Lawyer
    950 Third Avenue, 11th Floor
    New York, NY 10022

    Phone: 212 826-9900
    Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM
    Satuday – Sunday CLOSED
    Email: paul@paulrudderlaw.com

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    St John's UniversityPaul Rudder ESQ was one of the main presenters and a panelist at St John’s University Law School all day course titled “THE COURT IS IN SESSION: PSYCHOLOGISTS ON THE STAND – A CASE OF A CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION” on September 30 2012.

    The program presented the issues and concerns in the stages through time in child custody, general issues related to all aspects of the child custody dispute and adjudication, common errors made by professionals, legal challenges likely to be faced, ethical and licensing issues likely to emerge, etc.