Question #37: I have read a little on mediation and am quite convinced that this is the way to go rather than utilizing lawyers to battle it out in court. However I am having trouble convincing my wife. She thinks we don’t even need lawyers and can do a divorce on our own. We do negotiate fairly well, but we have issues around child custody especially for the future and are wrangling over property. If you can provide some detailed information about how you work and what it will cost, perhaps I can be more convincing in our need for mediation. Thanks.

DIVORCE SOLUTIONS offers a new and unique alternative to adversarial divorce. It is designed to address the emotional as well as legal and financial needs of the parties. Divorce mediation is based on the premise that in most instances especially where the parties have children, they will be required to have an ongoing relationship following their divorce. Thus, it is not only necessary to resolve the dispute between the couple but, if possible, to resolve it in such a way that they will be able to conduct any necessary business with one another in the future.
Under our program, the attorney is transformed from that of an exclusive advocate and surrogate of one antagonist, to that of a neutral adviser and facilitator to help and guide both parties through the process of negotiating by themselves a settlement they, not there attorneys, shape and refine. The professional attorney-mediator assists the parties in defining the relevant issues, understanding their choices , determining the difference between their “wants” and there “needs” and negotiation “positions”. The attorney-mediator will help the parties explore the variety of possibilities that are available to resolve particular problems and direct the parties to professionals such as neutral accountants, actuaries, and insurance brokers who can provide real, concrete answers to their questions.
As an attorney specially trained in divorce mediation, I am fully familiar with the statutory requirements under the divorce laws of the State of New York and as an attorney I will prepare the Separation Agreement and divorce papers and file them in the appropriate court. There are statutory requirements in New York State regarding child support and division of marital property which must be adhered to and ultimately approved by the court. It is precisely the function of the attorney-mediator to assist you in resolving the conflicts which you face such as the marital assets and child custody questions you mention. The cost of the service is $300 per hour and the total cost is a function of how much time will be spent resolving the outstanding issues and drawing up the Separation Agreement and divorce papers and filing them. If as you suggest, you and your spouse are capable of resolving your marital issues quickly, the amount of time necessary to work together will be reduced.
I strongly suggest that you and she both re-read the information included at the DIVORCE SOLUTIONS web site and then call me to arrange for a meeting with both of you . If you or she would like to call me for more information, my phone number is 212-370-1660.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./DIVORCE SOLUTIONS