FAMILY AND DIVORCE MEDIATION
 
A CIVILIZED ALTERNATIVE TO LITIGATION


Monica L. Kaiser, Esq.
Mediator / Attorney
450 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1400
New York, New York 10123
Tel: (212) 517- 3823; Fax: (212) 517- 6741
E-mail: monicaleekaiser@aol.com

  • What is Mediation?
In our traditional adversarial system, each spouse hires a separate attorney. The lawyers spend substantial time negotiating with each other and then additional time communicating the outcome of the negotiations to their respective clients. This adversarial approach escalates conflict and increases fees. If the attorneys are not successful in reaching an agreement, the issues surrounding the divorce will be decided by a judge. Litigation delays divorce, sometimes for several years, compromises privacy and depletes marital assets that could be divided between the parties or allocated to provide for the children.

In mediation, the parties, with the help of a trained mediator, negotiate directly with each other to reach an agreement on all aspects of their separation. Couples negotiate and resolve issues such as the division of property, parenting arrangements and child support. The mediator is a neutral party whose function is to facilitate negotiations by identifying issues, exploring potential solutions and advising the parties of all matters that should be addressed in a final agreement. The result is a less contentious and less expensive divorce.

Many mediators are attorneys with special training in divorce mediation. After the parties reach an agreement, the mediator, who is also an attorney, will draft a memorandum embodying the terms of such agreement.

  • If We Can't Get Along, How Can We Mediate?
In order for a couple to mediate successfully the terms of their divorce, they do not have to be best friends. Marital difficulties are often accompanied by anger, distrust and a breakdown in communication between spouses. A skilled mediator can diffuse negative feelings and help each party present his or her needs in a way that the other can hear and understand. This enables the parties to fashion an agreement acceptable to both.

  • Is Mediation A Substitute For Having My Own Attorney?
Mediation does not eliminate the need for lawyers. Mediation simply changes the role of lawyers from adversarial negotiators to legal consultants. Throughout the mediation, parties are encouraged to consult with their own attorneys if they have questions regarding their legal rights. Parties who have not consulted with a lawyer during the process often choose to have the final agreement reviewed by their own counsel before signing it. Mediation, substantially reduces legal fees by limiting the lawyer's function to reviewing the final agreement and serving as a legal consultant during the process.

  • The Advantages Of Direct Negotiation
Direct negotiation expedites the resolution of issues and often results in better long term communication between the parties. Many couples with children report that participation in mediation has improved their ability to resolve on - going issues concerning their children after the divorce. Additionally, children of parents who mediate often adjust better to their parent's divorce.

  • Is Mediation Right For Me?
Yes - if you are seeking to avoid a contentious, protracted and expensive divorce and you are willing to come to mediation to attempt in good faith to resolve your differences with your spouse. By agreeing to mediate, you do not relinquish any of your legal rights and the mediation can be discontinued at any point if you, your spouse or the mediator feel that the process is unproductive.

It should be noted that complicated finances do not preclude divorce through mediation and the mediator can help the couple retain appraisers or tax advisors to assist in valuing assets and structuring the agreement.

  • Monica Kaiser's Background and Credentials
Ms. Kaiser is an experienced mediator in private practice. She is committed to helping couples resolve the issues surrounding their divorce in an equitable manner without Court intervention. Ms. Kaiser is a member of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York and the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation.

In addition to serving as a mediator and arbitrator, Ms. Kaiser represents clients in negotiated divorce settlements and prenuptial agreements. She also reviews agreements reached in mediations, where she has not served as the mediator. Ms. Kaiser's substantive areas of practice include family law, commercial litigation and communications law.

Ms. Kaiser received her Bachelor of Arts degree Magna Cum Laude from Duke University in 1985 and her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1990. At law school, Kaiser received the American Jurisprudence Award for excellence in Constitutional Law and had the honor of being on the Deans list. In 1991, she was admitted to the New York state bar and the Federal Courts in the Southern, Eastern an Northern Districts of New York. Prior to opening her own practice in 1995, Ms. Kaiser worked as a litigator at a large New York City firm and subsequently joined the litigation department at another prominent New York City firm.

  • How Do I Get Started?
If you would like to explore the possibility of mediation, please call my office at
(212) 517-3823 to schedule a free telephone consultation.


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