NYC Divorce Mediation Guide

New York Divorce Mediation.jpg

To some, “The City That Never Sleeps” might mean restaurants and subways that do not close and nightlife at all hours. While for others, it may mean long, sleepless nights, worrying about the cost of their divorce!

When we heard that New York City divorce attorneys were demanding retainers of up to $15,000 per person, we set out to give divorcing couples a better option. And that’s why in 2012, we began offering our flat-fee divorce mediation services in Manhattan.

In the years we’ve been practicing in The Big Apple, we’ve seen divorce mediation used with great success by a diverse cross-section of the population including film makers, authors, corporate executives, and Wall Street wealth managers, to name just a few.

Confirming what we already knew to be true - more and more smart NYC couples are seeking a more peaceful and cost-effective alternative to the emotionally devastating and financially ruinous process of an attorney-driven divorce.

And that alternative is divorce mediation!

NYC Office Locations & Online Divorce Mediation

NYC Divorce Mediation Locations.pngIn NYC, we meet with couples in the following locations:

Central Park South:
57 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019 | (917) 383-0656

5 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001 | (917) 383-0656

Financial District:
165 Broadway, New York, NY 10006 | (917) 383-0656

If meeting with us face-to-face is challenging due to personal or professional demands, you or your spouse lives out of state, or you’re simply not located near one of our local locations, you can still work with us using our innovative online divorce mediation program.

If you and your spouse have agreed to divorce and you both want to mediate, book an initial meeting for the two of you.

book a mediation appointment

In this guide, you'll find information on:

  • How divorce mediation is conducted in New York City;
  • The issues that need to be resolved in a NYC divorce;
  • New York divorce mediation resources;
  • And how to get started mediating your New York Cith divorce with us.

How is Divorce Mediation in NYC Conducted?

In NYC, divorce mediation is primarily conducted outside of a courtroom by using a private divorce mediation service like ours - typically before you file with the courts.

Divorce Mediation NYC.pngTogether we would identify, discuss, negotiate and resolve all of the issues surrounding your divorce privately, confidentially and without the use of attorneys, if you so choose.

We’d draft up all of your agreements, gather the required forms, worksheets and discovery documents, and then send you to the filing phase where you’d complete your divorce through the courts.

And while some states have "court-ordered" mediation programs that help couples resolve all of the issues required for divorce, in New York City, mediation offered through the courts is typically limited to issues of custody and decision-making responsibility.

Private mediation with us is not strictly limited to matters of custody and decision-making responsibility.

What are The Issues That Need to be Resolved in a NYC Divorce?

For couples with no children or grown children, there are two main issues that need to be resolved in a New York City divorce. For couples with minor children, there are four:

The Parenting Plan

Parenting Plans NY.pngIn New York, issues of where and with which parent the children will live, and who will have decision-making responsibility regarding them is known as "child custody." For couples with minor children, these must be agreed upon and drafted in a parenting plan.

The parenting plan covers all aspects of how you will co-parent your children once you’re divorced including where the children will spend nights, weekends, and holidays, as well as how you and your ex will engage in decision making on matters such as education, religion, and medical issues to name but a few.

Because there is very little guidance on how to create a balanced and effective parenting plan, the help of an experienced and professional mediator is critical in this very gray area.

To learn more about how parenting plans work and why they’re the most important issue you’ll face in your divorce, please read: Divorce with Kids: The Importance of a Good Parenting Plan.

Child Support

NY Child Support.pngWhile the federal government requires all states to have some kind of repeatable process by which to determine child support, how child support is determined and the model each state uses varies greatly state-by-state.

NYC uses something called the "percentage of obligers income model" whereby a flat percentage of the paying party's gross income is given to the recipient spouse based on the number of children the parties have together.

And while it may seem quite simple to calculate child support in NYC, it is far from easy. As defining gross income is quite complex, the guideline has income limitations, and not all expenses related to raising your children are included in it.

That’s why it’s important to work with a mediator with a financial background who is up-to-date on the latest NY child support guidelines. To ensure your children get the financial support they need and don’t become the economic victims of your divorce.

To learn more about how child support works in New York City, please read: New York Child Support: More Than Just a Simple Percentage.

Spousal Maintenance

Alimony NY.pngIn New York, the payment of money from one ex-spouse to another is called spousal maintenance.  Some states refer to this as alimony, maintenance or spousal support.

Spousal maintenance in NY is different from child support in that it is to be used by the recipient spouse to assist with their expenses and not the children's. It is also a taxable event.

But like with child support, there is a NY maintenance guideline which became effective on January 25, 2016. The guideline was issued in an attempt to normalize maintenance awards throughout the state.

Now, just because there is a guideline to determine spousal maintenance in NY, it doesn't mean it's useful in all situations. Especially since the cost to live in NYC is significantly higher than upstate and the spousal maintenance award generated by the guideline may be too low for the recipient spouse to even survive on!

That's why in most cases, our clients choose to negotiate and come to agreement on an amount and duration of spousal maintenance they each find fair without the use of the NY spousal maintenance guideline.


To learn more about how spousal maintenance works in New York City, please read: The Challenges of Determining Alimony in NY.

Equitable Distribution

Equitable Distribution NY.pngEquitable distribution is the process by which divorcing couples divide their marital assets and liabilities. And is typically the last issue a mediating couple will need to discuss and resolve in their NYC divorce.

New York is an equitable distribution state. Meaning couples can come to any agreement they find “fair and equitable” when it comes to dividing their marital assets and liabilities. New York is not a community property state where assets and liabilities would be split 50-50.

So how do you determine what's fair when there's little in the way of formulas or rules to guide you?

A good start is to work with an experienced mediator with a financial background as this part of the divorce process can not only prove difficult, but costly, as there are a significant number of mistakes that can be made during this part of the process.

Determining what marital property is, what’s the difference between marital and pre-marital property, and what factors are taken into account when discussing equitable distribution all factor into the negotiations.

To learn more about how equitable distribution works in NY, please read: Who Gets What in a Divorce?

Mediate Your New York City Divorce!

Mediation Smartest Way to Divorce in NY.jpgWhether you work inside the home or outside of it, have minor children, grown children or are child-free, have been married a short time or have been together for many years, mediation is the smartest way to divorce in NYC.

Why mediate your NJ divorce with Equitable Mediation?

To get started, take the next step and book an initial meeting for you and your spouse.

book a mediation appointment


Or if you’re early in the process, learn how you benefit by mediating your NYC divorce.

book a mediation appointment