Elena Jaffe Tastensen is an attorney and mediator who fully understands the mediation process. This process seeks to help people resolve their disputes respectfully, without the need for a painful and expensive battle in court. The two parties meet together, with a trained mediator, in the mediator’s office. Mediation can be used by couples seeking to separate or divorce, parents experiencing difficulty establishing a schedule of parenting time, same sex couples, or anyone who wishes to come to a resolution of a dispute without resorting to litigation.
When a couple decides to separate, there are many issues to be resolved: parenting agreements if there are minor children, division of property support, division of debts, etc. A couple wishing to mediate does not need to agree on all of these issues prior to beginning mediation. Rather, there needs to be a desire on each participant’s part that he/she will work in good faith to resolve these differences, with the assistance of a trained mediator.
When a couple hires a mediator, the mediator does not serve as an attorney for either person. The mediator may give legal information, but the mediator will not provide legal counsel to either individual. For example, if asked, the mediator may explain the law on a particular issue, but the mediator will not tell either person what he/she “should” do. When a couple chooses to mediate, either participant is also free to seek the advice of independent legal counsel outside of the mediation process, if desired.
When a mediation is successfully completed, the result is the same as the couple would achieve if they had gone to court: a separation agreement can be prepared outlining the resolution of all of the issues discussed during the process, written in a format that will be legally enforceable. If the couple so desires, the law firm can then be retained to draft up uncontested divorce papers and the couple can be divorced. Either way, the same result is reached during a mediated divorce as is reached through the courts, however, the couple in mediation has arrived at that point through discussion, collaboration, and their own decision-making. The end result is the decision of the couple, rather than the decision of a judge, a third person who does not know much at all about the couple, their children, or their circumstances.
Mediation is usually much less expensive than litigation, totaling a fraction of the cost of what a couple would spend on hiring separate divorce attorneys. Rather than requiring an upfront payment or retainer, mediation clients pay the mediator per session.
For more information on mediation, please visit the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation Frequently Asked Questions page.
If you would like more information about our Mediation services, please call (518) 587 – 4419, or fill out our contact form.