EP: 009



Process choice can be tricky. Most of us would like to avoid the courtroom if at all possible, but how do mediation and collaboration work? How do you determine which divorce model is right for your circumstances? And when is it appropriate to choose litigation?

Melissa Goodstein has extensive experience in both mediation and the collaborative divorce process. She has been practicing mediation since 1993, and she received her training in the collaborative model in 2003. Her practice is located in Katonah, New York. Melissa serves on the New York State Council of Divorce Mediation, the Greater New York Council of Family and Divorce, the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals as well as the International Association of Collaborative Professionals.

Today, Melissa joins Katherine to discuss the roles comfort and willingness play in determining which process choice is the right fit. She walks us through the mediation process, explaining the confidential nature of this method and the necessity for both divorcing partners to feel comfortable speaking their truth. Melissa addresses how the collaborative divorce process differs and why each party has an attorney-advocate to help communicate their values and employ creative problem-solving to reach an agreement. Listen in to find out which cases are appropriate for the litigation model and learn when mediation or the collaborative process might be more fitting.


How process choice is based on the couple’s comfort and willingness

Why participants have more control outside the courtroom setting

What the mediation process looks like

  • Mediator serves as neutral to guide conversation
  • Only three people in room (typically)

How the mediation process is shielded from the public eye

How the collaborative divorce process differs from mediation

  • Based on same principles
  • Each party has attorney-advocate

The lawyer’s role in helping collaborative clients communicate values

The value in agreeing to reach a settlement without litigation

Melissa’s insight on collaborative law as a service profession

How the collaborative process allows for creative problem-solving

The cases that are appropriate for the litigation model

  • Domestic violence
  • Non-disclosure of assets
  • Refusal to cooperate


Melissa’s Website

Phone (914) 767-0438


The Center for Understanding Conflict

Miller Law Group

Katherine on LinkedIn

The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller

Email katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com

Call (914) 738-7765