Are you considering divorce, or separation? Have negotiations broken down? Are you tired of the traditional, adversarial process? Consider mediation, where you can find divorce with dignity. Divorce doesn't have to be the long, drawn-out drag of the past. Choose something different for the next step in building your separate lives, together. Our process is voluntary, confidential, inexpensive, informal, and flexible. Plus, it's effective.
Top Reasons to Mediate Your Divorce:
- Couples who mediate their divorce are 3x LESS likely to return to court.
- Mediation allows for personal, non-legal factors to be included in an agreement.
- Mediation takes less time than conventional divorce.
- Mediation costs less money than conventional divorce.
- Mediation includes all your wishes and concerns in an agreement you both decide upon.
Have questions and concerns? Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions below.
The divorce mediators at Empowered Pathways will help you organize your thoughts and make sure each of you are heard, and that your wishes are taken into consideration. We will write agreements for you that can then be taken to court and filed along with the paperwork that the courts require for non-contested divorces in New York State. We can help with your child visitation agreement, spousal maintenance, child support, and more. We can also give you a heads-up on how to file with the court system, costs and where to find more information.
Mediation is an informal way to resolve disputes outside of the court system. Participants have an opportunity to find their own solutions to their issues with the help of a neutral third person. There is no agreement unless both people approve. Mediation is inexpensive or free, is confidential and faster than a trial, improves communication, preserves relationships and produces lasting agreements.
Divorce Mediators typically work in mixed-gender pairs, and your family will have the same team throughout the process. These mediators have been certified in accordance with standards set by the New York State Unified Court System. Before being assigned to a team, the people you will be working with started by earning their basic, Community-based mediation certifications. These practitioners then went on to training, apprenticeship, certification and experience in Family-related disciplines such as Custody and Visitation, Parent-Teen, Child Support, and more.
No. Couples who are separating on a trial basis or contemplating divorce may also use the service. In addition, couples who are not, or never have been, married, but whose relationships are ending can benefit from the service as they look to separate their lives and property.
Any topic that is important to you. Divorce mediators are trained to handle almost any imaginable issue. Common topics of discussion include:
-Temporary/Interim Agreements during Separation
-Parenting Plans, including Custody & Visitation
-Financial Planning, including Budgeting, Income, Assets, Liabilities, Spousal Maintenance (aka Alimony) and Child Support
-Division of Personal Property
Anyone who has a stake in the process may attend the mediation sessions, as long as the couple agrees. Attorneys and other experts are welcome, with the understanding that they are present as advisors, and that the mediation is not a court proceeding. Older children and other family members are also sometimes involved.
Divorce Mediators come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including law, social work, and more. However, even if a mediator is AN attorney, they are not YOUR attorney; they are your mediator, and cannot advise or represent you. Though mediators are not, in general required to be licensed in New York State, Divorce Mediators who practice with Empowered Pathways are experienced professionals who are certified in accordance to the Unified Court System's standards. They follow a stringent Code of Ethics set forth by the Unified Court System.
No; it is an alternative to, or an excellent supplement to, an attorney. Divorce Mediators strongly recommend that parties consult knowledgeable experts whenever they need information. Besides attorneys, this can include accountants, counselors, and clergy. While your Divorce Mediators can often offer legal and financial information, they CANNOT and will not offer legal, financial, or other advice.
The couple first purchases a pair of Divorce Workbooks, for $25 each. There is an hourly fee for the mediation sessions themselves, which is based on the couple's combined income. This fee ranges from $20 to $300 per hour. The average number of hours needed to create an agreement is 2-4, though your mediators will work with you as long as it continues to be productive. Some couples move more quickly, and others need more time to address what is important to them. The Divorce Mediators can also prepare a Divorce Agreement for a flat fee of $150.
The Divorce Workbook acts as a guide for separating couples to make the mediation process much smoother. It has been developed by experts in the field and contains worksheets, forms, and other information on issues that a couple will need to address. Each participant has their own workbook, which they fill out independently and then compare to the other person's during the mediation session to help highlight areas of agreement and disagreement. Sample pages from our Divorce workbook are available for download.
Sessions are scheduled in two-hour blocks. Couples range from two sessions to several, depending on the complexity of their issues and the level of detail they wish to address. To help reduce costs and make the best use of the couple's time, the Divorce Mediators will often assign "homework" between sessions, so parties can create suggestions and gather information for the next meeting.
The Divorce Agreement is a document that can be prepared by your Divorce Mediators at the end of the process. The agreement summarizes the decisions you have made, and can serve as the foundation of your divorce whether you file it yourself. It can also serve as a guide for an attorney to prepare your divorce paperwork. The Divorce Agreement is NOT a legal document, and has no force of law until it is filed with, and approved by, the court. (In other words, it defines the agreed-upon TERMS of your divorce, but only the court can ISSUE that divorce.)
Once you have received your completed agreement from The Peacemaker Program Inc. you will go to the Supreme Court in your county and ask at the information desk where or how to file for a divorce. We strongly recommend the use of an attorney to file any paperwork with the court. However, if you choose to self-file, the Unified Court System provides a self-divorce "kit" with instructions and model forms for free on their website. For some couples, we may be able to help prepare these documents for a small fee.
No. In New York State, parties can now self-file, without anyone representing them. In addition, parties can each obtain an attorney, or even "share" a single attorney under certain circumstances. Though the Divorce Agreement will make filing much easier, parties must ultimately complete the required paperwork and file their own divorce, or have an attorney file on their behalf. Remember, even if the mediator is an attorney, they cannot function as your attorney. Since helping you complete court paperwork and filing on your behalf is practicing law, your mediators cannot perform that service. They help you in making all the important decisions, and gathering the essential information, to enable you to file your divorce.