How to start the process
To initiate working with Christine, start by calling (315) 422-9756. It is the policy of CNYMSI to speak with each person on the phone before anything else takes place. After speaking with each person on the phone, a packet of information will be mailed to each of you at no charge. That information will help you prepare for the mediation sessions. When you are ready to schedule an appointment, you can call or email the office. Generally, Christine will confirm the appointment with both participants before the proposed meeting date.
Often people are under the impression that they should not schedule an appointment until they have worked out many of the issues that will be included in their Agreement. Though communication is encouraged, it might be a good idea to attend an initial mediation session so that you can gain knowledge about family finances, the law, child development issues, tax issues, and a myriad of other matters related to separation and divorce. When verbal agreements are made between people before they have this information, sometimes bad feelings arise when people have to rethink their prior decisions.
There are ways to reduce the time and expense of separation through mediation. The first is to be as prepared as possible with the necessary paperwork. Go to documents required for the list of documents that you may wish to gather and bring to the first meeting. In this way, we can talk specifically and accurately about your circumstances from the beginning of the process.
Once you have received your packets and you are ready to meet, the initial two (2) – hour mediation session will be scheduled. The mediation sessions take place in a relaxed, living room-type setting with few distractions. You will each be asked to complete a Personal Information Sheet when you arrive. Then together with the mediator and your spouse, you will develop the meetings agenda. Whether it is the status of your relationship vis-à-vis separation and divorce, the mediation and/or divorce process, child support, parenting plans, equitable distribution or spousal maintenance - the parties can discuss whatever concerns are most prominent in their minds and the mediator will facilitate those conversations.
THE FIRST MEETING
The initial mediation session is designed to relieve our clients of immobilizing stress. You and your spouse or partner will hear one another’s questions, you will hear the answers together, you will share your concerns and requests, and these may be things you are each hearing for the first time. If you decide to take the next steps toward separation, your mediator will help you set up the road map that will often include tasks for you and/or the mediator to accomplish before the next meeting.
Each mediation session is scheduled for two hours, though the meetings can extend beyond two hours or end earlier based on your needs and wishes. Breaks can be taken during the mediation session as needed. You and your spouse will often leave with a to-do list for the next session. The more work done outside mediation sessions, the less time and money spent in mediation. A subsequent mediation session can be scheduled at the end of each meeting or later by phone or email.
One of the tools that mediators are trained to use is something called “caucusing”. Though the mediators at CNYMSI are trained to caucus, it is not our usual practice. Caucus means that the mediator could meet with each of you separately - if the mediator meets with one person, the mediator will always meet with the other. Whether or not the conversations with each client during the caucus are confidential will be decided by you ahead of the caucus. At CNYMSI, we share the preference for open discussion at all times.
TIME DEMANDS FOR MEDIATION
The time and expense to complete mediation differs in every case and depends upon a variety of factors. Typical cases that involve the negotiations of parenting plans, child support, spousal maintenance, equitable distribution, and other miscellaneous topics can take anywhere from 4 to 8 sessions with each session running approximately two hours, depending on the needs of the clients. The number of sessions can be substantially reduced when there are fewer issues or when our clients are able to discuss and agree upon matters between the mediation sessions. After all the issues that need to be included in the Separation Agreement are discussed and decided (which will involve multiple sessions), the first draft of your Agreement is then written. The complete mediation process will be discussed at the first session. Again, at anytime, the clients are encouraged to ask questions for clarification.
Christine Hickey, Esq. 120 East Washington Street, Suite 711, Syracuse, New York 13202 (315) 422-9756
CNY MEDIATION SERVICES, Inc.
Divorce Mediation Syracuse, New York
120 East Washington Street, Suite 711
Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 422-9756 Phone (315) 479-5651 Fax
Website by Cristin Manfredi and Content by Christine Hickey
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