The question of how long it takes to get a divorce through mediation is like the question: “How many angels can dance on the end of a pin?” While the question has many answers, below I will attempt to spell out the mediation process. I will include how long it might take for each part.
As a rough guideline, on the average, divorce mediation takes around six to eight months from beginning to end at the Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation. But there is quite a bit of variation as you can read below:
Step 1 – Divorce Mediation Sessions
During the Divorce Mediation Sessions, all issues regarding the children and finances are settled. The mediators help the couple make good, practical decisions. Issues include: child custody and support, visitation, the house, other financial assets including bank and stock accounts, cars, etc., debt, pensions, insurance, spousal maintenance, etc.
The number of sessions depends on many factors:
- How many issues the Spouses have worked out on their own.
- The willingness of Spouses to negotiate rather than rage at or stonewall each other.
- The complexity of the Spousal issues to be .negotiated
- The expertise and experience of the Mediators
- The business model of the Mediators – some Mediators sell packages of 5 to 10 sessions; others call for sessions as long as there are issues to negotiate. One to ten sessions takes one to ten weeks or more – quite a variance in time it takes to complete all negotiations.
On the average, at our Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation, our average number of mediation sessions is two sessions. We have a highly efficient process for helping Spouses to make fair and workable decisions. Our focus is on encouraging the Spouses to cooperate in financial and children solutions that give each Spouse a good lifestyle. We ask each Spouse to bring in their net incomes and a budget, and then focus on what works for both. That means encouraging the Spouses to alter standard child support and spousal maintenance amounts if one Spouse can’t create an adequate lifestyle with the standard amounts deducted from his or her take home.
Step 2 – Stipulation of Settlement
Once the divorce decisions are all made, at the Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation with two locations in Suffolk County, our lawyer mediator takes the decisions made during the mediation sessions, and turns them into the Stipulation of Settlement.
At our Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation, we tell clients that they will get a copy of their Stipulation to edit within three to four weeks. The length of time to complete the Stipulation of Settlement includes:
- Number of other cases in the pipeline
- Length of the Stipulation – the more issues that have been negotiated, the longer the stipulation. Ours runs to 60 or 70 pages and have never been overturned.
- Length of time for Spouses to edit the stipulation.
- Number of issues that have to be renegotiated.
Step 3 – Divorce Packet
The Divorce Packet consists of a number of pages of legal information needed for a divorce. At the Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation, our Divorce Packet consists of around thirty pages. It takes just a few days to produce the Divorce Packet, once the Stipulation of Settlement is complete and edited.
Step 4 – Judge’s Signature
Once the Stipulation of Settlement and the Divorce Packet are completed, they are submitted to the Courts for a Judge’s signature, completing the divorce once filed with the County Clerk. On Long Island, this Step can take from three to six months on average. Nassau County now has electronic service so three months is the average. In Suffolk County, this Step takes from four to six months.
|How Long Does It Take To Get a Divorce Through Mediation|
|Step 1 – Mediation Sessions||1-10 Sessions (weeks) depending on mediator business model and complexity of case.|
|Step 2 – Stipulation of Settlement||4-5 weeks, including Spouse edits|
|Step 3 – Divorce Packet||A few days|
|Step 4 – Judge’s Signature||3 to 6 months depending on Long Island County, Nassau or Suffolk|
For more information about the services at the Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation in Suffolk County, Yaphank and Huntington, click divorce mediation in Suffolk and Nassau. To read reviews about our mediators, click Fred Klarer and Diane Kramer.