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Divorce Mediation


“CNY Mediation helped me get a legal separation, as well as a divorce, without having to deal with a lawyer and their fees. Though my ex-husband agreed to a divorce, he eluded any papers being served on him and was unhelpful signing any legal documents.  Ed Finsterwalder helped me through the process of serving him through "alternate means," via the local newspaper, and I was able complete the process and am divorced today.”  KK

”I would recommend cnymediation to anyone looking for an easy divorce. Ed made it very  easy and explained everything thoroughly. He was also very kind through the whole process and answered any questions we had.” MJM

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My practice is limited to Divorce Mediation. Divorce mediation is a process that allows the parties to maintain control of the decision making, while utilizing the mediator to help make the process work. As a neutral third-party, the mediator provides a safe climate for a joint working meeting where all concerns, interests, ideas and information can be heard. The parties are then able to reach their own mutually-acceptable settlement of the issues in divorce concerning child support, custody/visitation, alimony, and the equitable distribution of marital property.

The parties’ verbal agreement of the issues is drafted into a written Separation or Settlement Agreement by the mediator. This agreement when signed and notarized becomes a template for the parties’ divorce if they wish to end the marriage. The divorce is filed as an uncontested divorce because all matters have been resolved prior to filing for the divorce.

CNY Mediation Services can assist you with filing an uncontested no-fault divorce in New York State when a Residency and Age Requirement have been met, and if the parties’ wish to represent themselves in the divorce. In the State of New York, you may hire an attorney to file your divorce, or you may self-represent and file your own uncontested divorce.

As a non-attorney mediator, I do not provide legal advice. I can provide you with the knowledge and expertise which will benefit you in filing your own divorce.

Court of Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court of Cortland County is the Court of Jurisdiction if assisted by Central NY Mediation Services in filing your self-represented divorce. All the paperwork for self-representation in your divorce is filed through the Cortland County Clerk, and your Judgment of Divorce is also issued through Cortland County. It is always recommended by the court that you file a copy of the Judgment of Divorce with your local County Clerk if you reside outside of Cortland County.

The Office


“Professional, knowledgeable and courteous. Extremely helpful during a very difficult process. I would highly recommend Mr. Finsterwalder to anyone in need of a mediator.” LT


"I would like to commend you on your professionalism and quick replies to all emails and phone calls. A divorce is never easy, even when both parties are in agreement. This whole process was quick and a fraction of the cost that an attorney would charge. I am pleased and impressed with the CNY Mediation Services’s handling of our case and the attention you gave to us." TT

CNY Mediation Offices

We are located in Suite 203 of the Marketplace Mall, 64 Main Street, Cortland NY 13045.

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Conference Room
Ed's Office
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Mall Entrance


Phone: (607) 753-6074

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Billing and Fees


“I appreciated the support, understanding and knowledge that Mr. Finsterwalder provided me while I was going through a personal matter. And, I have recommended him and his service to others.” MG

I charge for my services using a combination of flat-fee and hourly rate. My hourly rate is determined by using a sliding-scale based upon your combined marital income. The hourly rate primarily applies to time in working meetings with the parties, and drafting their agreement.

  • $0.00 to $50,000.00 = $90.00/hour
  • $50,000.00 and above=$125.00/hour

I charge a flat-fee of $350.00 to assist you with the filing of your own divorce. You are required to file specific court issued documents and notarized affidavits to receive a Judgment of Divorce. The Cortland County Clerk charges $365.00 in recording and filing fees. Your total cost in filing your own divorce through Central NY Mediation Services including the drafting of your Settlement/Separation Agreement is often less than $1,500.00.

Frequently Asked Questions


"After over 20 years of marriage, I found myself facing a divorce. I contacted CNY Mediation Services to assist with the process of the separation agreement and uncontested divorce process. Ed was fantastic at guiding me step-by-step through all the legal requirements and explained everything fully. I was allowed to go through the process at my own pace and never pressured into any decisions. Divorce is a difficult time but with the services received through CNY Mediation Services, I was made to feel safe, secure, and that while I was dealing with the emotional aspect, I was confident the legal aspect was being well taken care of. I would highly recommend Ed personally and the services provided by CNY Mediation Services." DRT


"CNY mediation made my divorce effortless. This was a great service that was both personal and inexpensive." BB
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"Mr. Finsterwalder was very prompt at handling any questions I had in regards to drawing up and executing my separation and divorce. Both were completed in a very timely manner. Mr. Finsterwalder was professional and knowledgeable. I highly recommend his services." KC

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce Mediation is a voluntary process whereby the participants discuss and negotiate the issues of their divorce in a safe environment assisted through the guidance of a neutral third-party mediator. The mediator will help you develop options, consider alternatives, and reach consensual agreement, which accommodates your needs.

What is the mediator’s role in the process?

The mediator is the Navigator of the process. He or she will help keep the discussion focused and on track, and enforce ground rules for negotiation. If you are reading this, you may have experienced the difficulty in having a productive conversation with your spouse as you near the end of your marriage. One of the most important jobs of the mediator is to encourage open, honest discussion of the issues in a transformative way supportive of you and your spouse.

Will divorce mediation work for everyone?

The short answer is no, divorce mediation is not a viable option for everyone. It can be difficult to discuss issues with your spouse, which have created emotional scares you may carry with you the rest of your life. Although mediation is not intended to be therapy, some participants do acknowledge a therapeutic benefit from the process. There are also power imbalances in some marriages, which make mediation very difficult due to emotional and sometimes physical intimidation. Some parties need to be represented by counsel.

Will divorce mediation work for me?

You will not know unless you try mediation. I offer a free consultation for you and your spouse to explore the possibility. You do not give up any legal rights or provide an advantage to your spouse. All mediation sessions are strictly confidential and off-the-record. Even the courts have upheld the mediation process as confidential, and no information disclosed in mediation can be used against you.

How would you compare divorce mediation to hiring a lawyer to file your divorce?

When compared to litigation, divorce mediation is faster and less expensive. The time-line at Central NY Mediation Services is often forty-five days from beginning to Judgment of Divorce. The cost is often less than $1,500.00. Mediations advantages lie in the client’s control of the process, their flexibility in making fully informed, customized decisions, and their ability to deal with each other in a manner that has personal integrity for them. One thing a lawyer will never tell you is that you do not need a lawyer to file an uncontested divorce.

Education and Training


"CNY Mediation Services made our legal separation fast and easy, which is just what we wanted. We didn't want to spend thousands of dollars on lawyers and hours in court. Me finsterwalder helped us create an agreement in only a few weeks and cost us only $420 total. Mr. Finsterwalder made scheduling easy, was friendly and courteous to both of us and very professional. I highly recommend his services.”


“You made it very simple and easy to go through this process.”

Edward L.Finsterwalder

Edward Finsterwalder

My personal satisfaction in helping people resolve disputes through mediation occurs when people who are deeply estranged are willing and able to work together to forge an agreement, which will make their lives more workable. As a witness and participant in those moments, I feel deeply privileged to be part of the process, which heals rather than exacerbates old and deep wounds.

  • 10 plus years of divorce mediation experience
  • Established Central NY Mediation Services, CNY Mediation in 2003
  • Post-graduate training in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • Master's Degree in Applied Communications with a concentration in ADR from the University of Denver
  • BA in Psychology from Springfield College
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Contact

Call us at 607-753-6074

Email us at cnymediation@yahoo.com

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