Navigating the complexities of a divorce can be challenging. During such an important time, having the right mediator can make all the difference. Here’s why my office can be the right choice for many Suffolk County, New York couples:
- In-person and Virtual Mediation Options
In a world that’s constantly changing, our modes of communication must evolve. My Jericho, New York office is adept at offering both in-person and virtual mediation services. We cater to the convenience of clients from Suffolk County, Nassau County, Queens, and New York City. Nowadays many couples choose to mediate on Zoom from the convenience of their own homes, but for those that wish to come to and mediate in person we have a comfortable conference room to talk through what we need to settle in Suffolk County divorce mediations or anyone that can make the trip to our Long Island office.
- Connections to Suffolk County
Suffolk County is a vibrant region with a rich tapestry of towns and cities, including Huntington, Babylon, Smithtown, Islip, and Brookhaven, among others. As of recent data at the time of this blog, Suffolk County boasts a population of approximately 1.5 million residents. I am a resident of Suffolk County myself and take the short drive to my Jericho office in neighboring Nassau County every workday. My home and office location over the years have made it convenient for me to handle Suffolk County and Long Island cases throughout my career. Suffolk County is a diverse and expansive community, one I’m proud to call home and serve. My ties to the region help me to understand the unique needs and concerns of Suffolk County residents.
- Suffolk County Courts & Their Significance
The Suffolk County Court system plays a pivotal role in the lives of its residents. The Supreme Court in Suffolk County with locations in both Central Islip, New York and Riverhead, handles matrimonial cases, including divorces. There’s also the Family Court with locations also both in Central Islip and Riverhead, which has jurisdiction over a myriad of family-related issues, including child custody, child support, and domestic violence cases. My familiarity with these courts and their proceedings is something that I have found helpful to bring to the mediation table for guidance on how issues might be handled if or had it been brought before a court.
- Extensive Legal Experience and Focus
My journey, starting in January 1999 when I was admitted to the New York State Bar, has seen me deeply involved with the intricacies of the Suffolk County court system. My focus in family law, coupled with my experience with the Suffolk County Assigned Counsel panel, which I used to be on when building up my practice early in my career to receive assignments for the court for child custody, child support and family offense proceedings, has honed my skills, making me a trusted mediator in the community. For over the past decade I have focused primarily on my own private matrimonial and family law cases and started to build my mediation practice.
- Advocacy for Mediation
With a vantage point that includes both litigation and mediation, I am a fan for the latter for couples that are willing to try it. It offers a more amicable, cost-effective, and timely resolution, making the transition smoother for everyone involved.
- Comprehensive Mediation Services
From initial discussions to final agreements, our services cater to every aspect of the divorce process. While over the years there have been some couples that started mediation then opted for litigation, this is rare. I see more cases in which the latter is true that the couple seeks out mediation after a negative experience or to help with resolving what they have not settled in litigation. Our success rate is a testament to our commitment to helping couples find common ground.
- Overcoming Challenges
In moments of impasse, my litigation experience is a beacon, guiding discussions back to productive dialogues. I like to give each side the opportunity to be heard and come up with their own solutions. But there is a saying that in mediation we operate under the shadow of the law. We can be guided by what might happen in court if the mediation process was not used. My court room experience helps give me practical language which I like to use to help resolve impasses.
- Methods to Resolve Disputes in Mediation
Every couple is unique. Recognizing this, we tailor our mediation approach, whether it’s Interest-Based Negotiation, Facilitative Mediation, or Evaluative Mediation. The truth is I am not tied to any one method, rather I use a combination of both for my mediations.
Interest-Based Negotiation (IBN):
Definition: Also known as “principled negotiation,” this approach emphasizes the interests, needs, desires, concerns, and fears of the parties involved, rather than their positions or stated demands.
Process: Both parties collaboratively identify their interests and work together to find mutually beneficial solutions.
Advantages: This method often results in more sustainable agreements because solutions address the underlying needs and concerns of both parties.
Example in Divorce Mediation: Instead of arguing over who gets the house, a couple might discuss their underlying interests, such as stability for the children or proximity to work. They might decide on a co-housing arrangement or selling the house and splitting the proceeds based on these shared interests or any other number of possible resolutions.
Definition: In this method, the mediator’s primary role is to facilitate communication between the parties to help them arrive at their solution.
Process: The mediator asks open-ended questions, validates and acknowledges parties’ feelings, and ensures both parties have an opportunity to be heard. The mediator does not offer suggestions or opinions.
Advantages: This approach empowers parties to own their solutions, which can lead to more lasting resolutions.
Example in Divorce Mediation: If one spouse feels unheard about childcare responsibilities, the mediator might ask, “Can you explain your concerns about the current childcare arrangement?” This encourages dialogue and understanding.
Definition: In this approach, the mediator plays a more directive role, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case, and might provide an opinion on likely court outcomes.
Process: The mediator might point out the realities and weaknesses in each side’s position, pushing parties towards a settlement that aligns with the mediator’s perception of what might happen if the case goes to court.
Advantages: This can expedite the process for parties who are stuck in their positions, or who value an “expert” assessment to guide their decisions.
Example in Divorce Mediation: If spouses can’t agree on alimony, the mediator might offer an opinion based on typical court judgments in similar situations.
The method chosen often depends on the nature of the conflict, the personalities and preferences of the parties involved, and the style of the mediator. Some conflicts might benefit from a mix of approaches. It’s crucial for parties to understand the methods available and select the one (or combination) that best fits their situation.
Choosing a mediator is an important decision. In the end, it is most important to feel comfortable with your divorce mediator. For Suffolk County, Long Island and New York City area residents, my office offers a blend of local knowledge, deep legal understanding, and an unwavering belief in the potential of mediation. When you’re ready to navigate this journey, we stand by to guide you every step of the way.
Couples interested in divorce mediation should schedule a time for the free initial consultation together.