Divorce Mediation

Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, with offices on Long Island and in Kings County, is available to serve and advise you in the role of Divorce Mediator. Our lead mediation attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience. Our years of experience have prepared us for any situation or issue which needs to be addressed in the Divorce Mediation process and allows us to guide our mediation clients towards amicable settlement rather than costly and emotional divorce litigation.  Our compassionate, experienced and highly skilled legal staff understands how important your family is. We understand the impact of divorce on the entire family. We will present you with all of your options through Divorce Mediation to help you and your spouse reach your ultimate, goal; a peaceful and amicable settlement out of court.

Here to Help You

Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, understand what you are going through and want to reassure you that having such complex feelings during your divorce is completely normal. After all, the decisions you make now will change your life, and that of your family, for many years to come.  For this reason, Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP’s goal is to offer you compassion during this tough time as well as legal services that help you reach peaceful resolutions. Below are resource to help you better understand more about divorce mediation.

Getting an experienced divorce/family law attorney involved in your legal matter does not mean that you want to start or continue a conflict, it simply means that you are ready to work towards a resolution so that you can move forward with your life. If you are ready to put conflict behind you in favor of a fresh start, contact Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, at 1-800-806-1136 for help.


Divorce Mediation Resources


Divorce Mediation is a process by which couples who have deemed it necessary to bring their marriage to an end attempt to resolve their disputes in a collaborative and mutually beneficial way, instead of via confrontation and litigation.

You and your spouse work together with a divorce mediator who represents neither party’s separate interests. The divorce mediator serves as an unbiased third-party guide to assist you and your spouse in obtaining the goal of a peaceful settlement of your issues without the high cost of litigation and separate attorneys.

The goal is for you and your spouse to engage in an open dialogue to make decisions together. The divorce mediator helps to foster those discussions by understanding the law as it applies to your specific case and goals. The divorce mediator plays the role of an advisor and guide but does not serve to impose decisions upon you or your spouse.

By reaching a resolution through divorce mediation that serves the best interests of you and your family, it has been shown that the terms of the mediation settlement agreement tend to be complied with more than orders of courts or settlements negotiated after hostile and contentious negotiations or litigation. This gives greater security and peace for your family after the process is complete while keeping matters civil and respectful during the divorce mediation process.

At Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, your divorce mediation journey is guided by Steven E. Shumer, an attorney practicing law in the area of divorce/family law and divorce mediation since 1992. Proceeding through the mediation process with an attorney is different than with a certified mediation specialist who often has no experience in court nor familiarity with judges’ tendencies in the county in which you and/or your spouse reside. Having more than 75 years of combined matrimonial, family law and divorce mediation experience, the attorneys at Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP possess the unquestioned ability to help you and your spouse reach your desired goal of an amicable and peaceful resolution that allows you to remain civil and often friendly after the process is complete. Keeping the anger and stress of court out of the process often helps to keep you and your spouse more focused on resolving your differences in an amicable way that benefits the entire family.


Marriage does not always take us in the direction we expected when we said “I Do”. Sometimes, “forever” actually has an end date. When that time comes, the decisions made can affect you and your spouse but also your children, family and friends forever. Obviously, there is a lot to think about.

As a parent, two questions always come to mind:

How will the divorce and our actions affect the children?
What is the best way to proceed so that our family’s financial stability can be secured?

The decision to proceed with a divorce is a difficult one but the process does not have to be.

Parties to a divorce often expect to experience what they see on television; long, drawn out, vicious litigation that splinters families and negatively affects children. It does not have to be that way.

While divorce litigation may be the only option for people who simply cannot “get on the same page” as one another, those who are of a less confrontational mindset have an alternative.

Steven E. Shumer and the staff at Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP pride themselves in offering a quality option to divorce litigation in the form of divorce mediation.

In the process of divorce mediation, Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, as a divorce mediation firm, serves as a neutral entity, representing neither party in the divorce. In this position as a neutral party, the firm has the opportunity to offer guidance and information based upon more than 75 years of combined experience as legal counsel in the matrimonial field. Possessed with this knowledge, Steven E. Shumer, as your divorce mediator, is able to advise the parties how matters would likely be resolved if litigated in court. Through this guidance you and your spouse are provided the knowledge and chance to settle your disputes, civilly, out of court, at a significantly lower cost and with less conflict. The end result? Two people who can leave the marriage believing that they were treated fairly by the law, treated fairly by one another and possessing the ability to move forward without the hatred and anger that is so often created in the context of litigated divorces.

Additionally, by proceeding via divorce mediation, you and your spouse often agree to share the cost of the divorce mediation instead of each having to pay the separate fees associated with your own representation in a contested or litigated divorce. The cost savings is usually significant.

Most importantly, in divorce mediations in which children are involved, the civil tone established by you and your spouse sets a far better example to children about how responsible and mature adults can handle disputes and walk away friends rather than showing children that fighting and anger can reap rewards.

Steven E. Shumer has represented parties as a divorce mediator for the majority of his career which spans in excess of 25 years. He prides himself on the fact that nearly all of the cases he has mediated have been peacefully resolved via a written settlement agreement, allowing the clients to avoid divorce litigation.

Steven E. Shumer and the divorce mediation staff of Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, can help you and your spouse as they have helped so many others in working with parties to arrange for an amicable settlement with reduced stress, cost and conflict via divorce mediation.

The decision between proceeding via litigation or mediation is one to be taken seriously after proper thought and evaluation.


The below is a list of issues that may be addressed in Divorce Mediation (the list, by no means, should be considered all-inclusive):

  • Custody of Children
  • Parenting Access Schedules
  • Child Support
  • Maintenance (often referred to as “Alimony”)
  • Asset Distribution (including real property, financial accounts, retirement accounts, etc.)
  • Debts


As a potential mediation client, you and your spouse can hope for and reasonably expect, a relatively smooth process, as long as both parties stay of the same mindset and goal…that being a peaceful and non-confrontational resolution to your matrimonial disputes.

When you decide to work with Steven E. Shumer, of Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, as your chosen divorce mediator, you can anticipate the following steps in the process:

First, you will be entitled to a free consultation during which Mr. Shumer will outline a schedule of what to anticipate in the process.

Second, if you retain Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP to serve as your chosen divorce mediation firm, a basic intake will be completed by Mr. Shumer providing the firm with “pedigree” information about you and your spouse, your assets, your children, etc. You will then each be provided financial disclosure statements to return to the firm after completion and execution.

Third, Mr. Shumer will then evaluate the information received through the intake process and the financial disclosure forms and will create a written “Mediation Outline” which will detail the specific facts of your marriage and your family, outstanding information needed, matters believed to be in dispute, and matters believed to be resolved. You and your spouse will then be provided the “Mediation Outline” to review and comment on before the next step in the process.

Fourth, from this step forward, the negotiation and process becomes very fluid. Some parties need to have numerous meetings to narrow the issues in dispute while others require only a one or two in-person meetings or out-of-office communications to come to resolutions under Mr. Shumer’s supervision.

Fifth, once terms are agreed upon in principle, Mr. Shumer will then draft and present a proposed Mediation Settlement Agreement for you and your spouse to review and provide comments to. Changes will be made as agreed upon.

Sixth, before signing the Mediation Settlement Agreement, you and your spouse are given the opportunity to take the draft to counsel of your own choosing to review and discuss its contents and propose any changes before formally signing the binding agreement. In many cases, the parties do not wish to expend the additional money of a private attorney review and have the right to waive that option and execute the agreement under Mr. Shumer’s supervision. In this case, each party would have to verify in writing that they have had the agreement reviewed or that they are aware of, but waive the right to do so.

Seventh, the agreement is signed and you and your spouse are deemed officially “legally separated”.


In confrontational situations, custody is often the most sensitive of divorce and family law subjects. Two parents at odds over who would better serve the interests of their most valued possession; their child. Emotions often take over leaving the court to determine what is in the best interests of the child. In making this decision the court will consider various factors including:

  • The child’s age
  • The child’s health
  • The parents’ respective health
  • The parents’ availability to the child
  • The standard of living of the family
  • The opinions of the child if the court considers them old enough and mature enough to give their opinion

Through the process of divorce mediation, decisions on custody remain in the hands of the parties who truly should have at the forefront of their minds, one question: What is in the best interests of our child?

When you and your spouse are peaceful with one another and working together to resolve your differences through divorce mediation, most often, you would resolve the issue of custody via an agreement to hold joint legal custody (where you and your spouse are expected to work together to make major decisions affecting your child as if you were still married with neither party having a greater say on any given issue).

In any case, child custody is an extremely sensitive, complex, important and, potentially, life changing issue. Steven E. Shumer, an attorney with more than 25 years of experience in the area of divorce and divorce mediation, has the proper skillset to assist mediating parties in reaching amicable and peaceful settlements on subjects as vital as child custody with knowledge and confidence, while being sensitive and attentive to your needs and those of your child.


“Visitation” is now also known as “parenting access” or “parenting time”. The terminology has changed to reflect the fact that time spent with children should be quality time between a parent and children to promote the relationship and bond, rather than be deemed just a “visit” with the non-residential parent.

Each parent, unless deemed a danger or risk to the safety/well being of the children, has indisputable rights to regular time with his/her children.

Through the divorce mediation process, Steven E. Shumer will be able to assist you and your spouse in establishing a parenting access schedule that is fair to both parties as well as the children, keeping children’s schedule in mind as well as the schedules of the parents.

Divorce mediation assures that the lives of the children will not be disrupted more than necessary. In the process of litigation, the children are very often assigned their own attorney such that the children become part of the litigation process. By proceeding and resolving disputes via divorce mediation, you are serving the interests of your children by guaranteeing that they will not be brought to court, will not speak with attorneys and will not be involved in the negotiations other than as you and your spouse deem necessary and appropriate for your children. In sum, you decide what is best for your children as parents, not a court system that has no familiarity with your family and specifically with your children’s needs.

What should be clear is that the courts have gone away from the time when a non-residential parent would receive a “standard” alternating weekend visit and one visit each week for dinner. The belief is now that each parent, if able to do so, should be afforded relatively comparable time with their children. Mr. Shumer’s years of negotiating parenting access schedules can assure mediating parties that, with his guidance, they will likely be able to reach an amicable resolution on this sensitive issue without significant conflict or the need for court intervention.


Child support is a mandatory payment from the non-residential parent to the primary residential parent on behalf of the children. Child support is intended to be a contribution to the children’s expenses such as food, clothing and shelter. The proper amount of child support is determined by applying a mathematical calculation based upon the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”). Under the CSSA, the non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the parties’ combined gross adjusted income based upon the number of children, running from 17% to 35%. Depending upon the parties’ combined incomes, these percentages will be strictly applied.

The child support will be payable until each child is emancipated (usually at the age of 21 years). The court may require additional payments for expenses such as education, medical insurance, day care and unreimbursed medical related expenses.

The confusing nature of the CSSA and the additional required contributions can often be simplified by Steven E. Shumer through the divorce mediation process. Our attorneys can offer you the proper guidance and advice needed to reach an amicable mediation settlement.


“Spousal support”, “alimony” or simply “maintenance” is money an ex-spouse may be required to pay the other spouse after a divorce. The issue has always been hotly contested by parties to divorce but has recently been streamlined by the creation of guidelines that set the presumptive amounts due from a supporting spouse to a financially dependent spouse. These guidelines have helped to ease the conflict over this issue thereby allowing more couples to take advantage of the divorce mediation process when, in the past, spousal maintenance often served as a bar to a successful divorce mediation.

Based upon the new maintenance guidelines, Steven E. Shumer can take the confusion out of the questions involving maintenance requests and entitlements. Through the divorce mediation process, Mr. Shumer will provide you and your spouse with the guidelines requirements for maintenance and then open communication on the subject as part of a discussion of the global issues involved in your marriage.

At Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, through the divorce mediation process, you will work with Steven E. Shumer, an experienced divorce attorney and divorce mediator well versed in the area of maintenance and spousal support. Through the divorce mediation process, our goal is to limit any unfair economic effects on either party that a maintenance request or award may have. We will utilize the maintenance discussion as one of many conversations that make up the global divorce mediation process, a process that usually benefits all involved as compared to a litigated and costly divorce action.


At Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, we fully understand that not every divorce mediation case can be handled the same way. We recognize the nuances and specificity needed for each couple and their family which may be different from another family/couple. Steven E. Shumer, Esq., and his more than twenty five years of divorce and divorce mediation experience, handling low asset to high asset cases, allows us at Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, the ability to guide couples through the divorce mediation process to an amicable resolution of their financial issues without the need for conflict, high cost or court intervention with the goal of an amicable resolution mutually beneficial to all involved.

At Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, as needed, we work alongside economists and other financial professionals to value assets and businesses as well as tax professionals to provide the details of the tax effects of any strategy or settlement.

We realize that any divorce mediation, whether the highest of asset cases or the most minimal, is about obtaining for you and your spouse, the fairest resolution through open and peaceful discussion. At Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, through the divorce mediation process, we place a priority on minimizing conflict and legal fees whenever possible. By minimizing conflict and confrontation during the divorce mediation process, we hope that the relationship between you and your spouse can remain civil, now and in the future. In doing so we feel that we best serve our clients’ interests, not only today but for years to come.