Divorce Mediation NY

If you want to end your marriage peacefully, divorce mediation is an ideal solution.

Because not only is a divorce painful emotionally, but the actual process itself can be financially disastrous if it isn’t handled properly.

So if you’re getting ready to divorce in NY, you’re wise to want to learn about mediation.

We’ve been helping couples avoid the devastation of adversarial divorce proceedings since 2008, and we've got you covered!

On this page, you'll find answers to common questions about mediation for a NY divorce.

Or if you already know that you want to mediate, and you and/or your spouse live in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, White Plains, or anywhere else in New York city metropolitan area, book a mediation strategy session today!

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We knew we wanted a non-conflictual divorce, and Joe and Cheryl  made it very easy for us to accomplish just that.

I found the process thoughtful and thorough and the approach kind and calm.

- K.K.
former client, Brooklyn, NY

Joe and Cheryl, Thank you for all of your help during the most difficult time in my life. Throughout the mediation process, I felt supported and heard.

I am grateful you were there for me and I have given your information to a friend who is just starting the process.

- L.D.
former client, Garden City, Long Island

Since my earnings as a financial advisor are 100% commission-based, and off the top of the guideline, figuring out spousal maintenance was tough.

Joe examined our financial needs, cash flow patterns, and after-tax income to put together a detailed bracketed approach to support that was easy to execute, given the variability in my income.

- R.E.
former client, NYC

How is divorce mediation conducted in New York?


While some states have court ordered mediation programs, in New York, mediation offered through court is typically limited to issues of custody and decision-making responsibility.

On the other hand, private mediation is not strictly limited to matters of custody and decision-making responsibility.

So in NY, divorce mediation is primarily conducted outside of a courtroom by using a private divorce mediation service like ours - typically before filing for divorce.

We’ll help you and your spouse identify, discuss, negotiate and resolve all of the necessary issues, privately, confidentially and without the involvement of divorce lawyers (if you so choose).



What is the NY divorce mediation process?

The process will vary wildly from mediator-to-mediator since no two mediators are the same. But here’s a high level of our mediation process:

  • First, you and your spouse would hire us to help you resolve the requisite issues for your divorce.
  • The next stage of our process is called Financial Discovery, and it's all about preparing for your negotiations. You’ll disclose your marital property and debts, current and projected living expenses, and share a number of financial documents. This creates a solid foundation for your negotiations and increases the thoroughness of your written agreement.
  • After you've finished Financial Discovery, you'll go through the negotiation phase of our mediation process. It’s here that our mediator (Joe) will guide you through a series of online mediation sessions to discuss and resolve the issues that need to be resolved in your divorce. In a mediation session, if areas of disagreement arise, Joe will use his expertise in dispute resolution techniques to help you negotiate and reach agreement on these subjects.
  • After an agreement is reached, Joe will draft a written document called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), outlining all decisions made during the negotiations.
  • At the completion of divorce mediation, you will be encouraged to have your written agreement reviewed by your own respective lawyer, however it is your choice whether or not to do that.
  • When you’re ready, you will then hire a filing professional who will prepare the divorce petition and other related court paperwork. In NY, there are lawyer and non-lawyer filing professionals and it is your choice of which to work with.
  • Upon receipt of the proper documentation and filing fees, your divorce will be granted by a judge typically a few weeks or months later.



What are the issues that need to be resolved in a NY divorce?

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


If You’re Divorcing in NY and Have Kids, You Need a Parenting Plan:


In 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.



NY Child Support Needs to be Determined:


While 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.

NY uses something called the "percentage of obligor's 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 NY, 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, please read: New York Child Support: More Than Just a Simple Percentage.



Determination of NY Alimony (Spousal Maintenance):


In 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.

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 if they live in Manhattan!

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, please read: The Challenges of Determining NY Alimony.



Property Division – also known as Equitable Distribution in NY:


Equitable 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 NY 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 property division in NY, please read: Equitable Distribution: Who Gets What in a Divorce in NY?



Do I also need a divorce attorney in New York if I am using divorce mediation?

Lawyers are not required for a divorce.

Some individuals choose to speak with a divorce lawyer during or after mediation to get legal advice. However, others specifically choose to NOT involve attorneys in their divorce.

This is your divorce, so if you’d like to get an attorney’s viewpoint on a particular issue(s), you are encouraged to do so.



Will mediation work in NY divorce cases that are highly complex?

While we can’t speak for all mediators, for us the answer is yes!

There is no case too complex to be handled by our expert mediator.

Given our expertise working with divorces involving high assets, complicated compensation issues, divorces after long-term marriage including gray divorce, and divorcing business owners, most cases we handle involve substantial complexities.



What’s the difference between divorce mediation and traditional divorce lawyers?

There are significant differences and this post will help you understand in more detail, the differences between mediators vs lawyers for divorce.

And this post covers the differences between mediation and collaborative divorce (also referred to as collaborative law process).



How do we know if mediation is a feasible option for our NY divorce?

Mediation is a voluntary process, and is an option to explore if:

  • You and your spouse are willing to actively participate in a transparent, honest, and “good faith” negotiation including full disclosure;
  • There is some degree of mutual respect between you;
  • You want an experienced professional to help you resolve the necessary divorce issues, but you want to retain full control over your divorce agreement and make your own decisions.

Get a High Quality New York Divorce Mediation!

Whether 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, Equitable Mediation is the smartest way to divorce in NY.

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

Book an Initial Meeting


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


Where are Equitable Mediation's NY divorce mediation locations?

If you live anywhere in the state of New York, you can mediate your no-fault divorce with Joe using our innovative and convenient online divorce mediation format.

While most New York City divorce mediators only recently began practicing online as a reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been mediating online since 2011!

And our proven mediation process is specifically designed to get you and your spouse to agreement, without having to meet with us face-to-face!