While many people have heard of a “mediator,” many do not really understand what a New York divorce mediator does. A New York divorce mediator does not act as a judge and does not push any particular party’s agenda. Instead, he or she acts as a conduit between the parties, helping to get the parties to understand the other side’s better and to take into account the possibilities if a settlement is not reached.
Mediation is a voluntary process, so if the parties agree to it, they are already demonstrating their ability to act in good faith and to allow reason to lead them. Unlike a judge, the mediator does not try to get the parties to any particular outcome. Instead, each case is handled in a unique manner. The individual needs and personalities of the parties are different in every case, and these are taken into account in order to draft a mutually beneficial agreement.
Unlike the rigid templates of court orders, parties to mediation can be much more creative and flexible in their agreement. This allows co-parents to make decisions about what will work for their family. Divorce mediators are often skilled at making creative suggestions that are tailored to the family’s needs. Since a judge is not involved, the parties are free to agree on terms that they believe are fair. A mediator can also emphasize the drawbacks of pursuing litigation, such as handing over decision-making power to someone unfamiliar with the family and their needs.