When you think of divorce in New York, your first thought is probably a dramatic courtroom battle. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. In fact, you can negotiate a settlement with your spouse privately.

If the two of you can amicably discuss important matters, such as child custody and division of assets, mediation is advantageous. This process can speed up the otherwise painfully long process of dissolving your marriage while reducing costs significantly.

Despite its practical benefits, any experienced Long Island family law attorney can’t deny that some divorcing couples are reluctant to take the mediation route because of its slight air of mystery. To appreciate its value, here are the most common misconceptions about it, and the truth behind them:

1. The mediator favors the same sex.

The mediator’s job is to mediate, not sympathize with any spouse or play favorites based on gender. This trained professional’s chief role is to facilitate the whole process and ensure everyone gets the equal chance to speak and be heard.

2. The third party ensures a fair settlement.

The main difference between litigation and mediation is that the divorcing spouses get to decide on everything. Unlike a judge, the mediator won’t have the final say. They will only help the two of you find common ground, make a compromise, and resolve all disagreements respectfully.

3. A wealthy couple should do litigation instead.

Mediation requires no wealth minimum or limit. When unqualified to assists in a particular matter, your mediator could invite the right professional, such as an accountant, to ensure they do everything properly.

4. This option is for everyone.

This process doesn’t provide the proper forum to talk about sensitive issues, including fraud and abuse. If there’s a history of domestic violence, your divorce case might not be suitable for mediation.

Not all New York lawyers advocate mediation, especially expert litigators. Some feel a mediator doesn’t provide the necessary assistance to help spouses get the most out of their divorce. If you’re strongly considering this option, it’s best to talk to a family law attorney who supports it.