When people come to speak with me, they will frequently ask me whether they should use arbitration or mediation. I then have to explain to them the difference between the two. The most important part is that there is no arbitration for divorce in New York State. Arbitration is where an individual, the arbitrator is basically the judge and the two people set forth their case before the arbitrator. The arbitrator listens to both sides and then decides who wins, similar to what a judge would do. That is arbitration. That is not the same as mediation.
In mediation you have a mediator who sits with the husband and the wife and the mediator’s job is to help the husband and the wife come to an accord, which means an agreement. The mediator is not giving any decisions. The mediator is not giving any advice. As an attorney, I can give them legal information but I cannot give them legal advice. If either one of them wants legal advice, whoever is in the mediation process has the right to hire a consulting attorney.
A consulting attorney is an attorney who is outside the mediation process who just tells the client whether what they want or what they want to do is alright for them or better for them or what they should ask for. At the end, when people have already decided on what they’re going to do and there is a settlement agreement, the people in the process can give the settlement agreement to a review attorney for the review attorney to look at and see if there is anything in there that was missed. That’s the difference between mediation and arbitration.
Leslye M. Schlesinger is proud to serve Rockland and Westchester County with quality legal services. Attorney Schlesinger has over 30 years of experience guiding clients through matrimony law. Ms. Schlesinger now focuses her practice on helping clients avoid litigation through alternative dispute resolution, including collaborative divorce and mediation. If you need to schedule a consultation, contact Leslye M. Schlesinger today.