Sheryl-Anne Sastow

Attorney at Law, Mediator, Arbitrator

Serving New York City, Western Suffolk, Nassau & Queens
New York, New York 10001


Asset Distribution, Child Custody, Child Support Modification, Collaborative Divorce, Co-Parenting, Divorce, Divorce Modification and Enforcement, Family, Marriage, Pet Mediation, PostNuptials, PreNuptials, Same Sex Disputes


I’ve been where you are


My own terrible experience with divorce convinced me to pursue what is now the largest part of my law practice. Here’s what happened:

After getting an undergraduate degree in psychology, I worked in leasing and management for a commercial real estate developer. During the next couple of years, I got married, had children, and became a stay-at-home mom during the day. At night, I started law school, stopped and had another child, and then resumed going to law school.

Nowhere to turn

Unfortunately, my relationship with my husband deteriorated steadily. I realized that my marriage wasn’t going to last. I was angry, sad, worried, and miserable. But I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. So like many people in similar situations, I just stayed in the marriage.

The days turned into months. I wasn’t living any kind of life. I knew I didn’t want to remain miserable for the rest of my life. And I also knew that my young children deserved and needed to see their mother happy. Thinking there was no alternative, I did what most people did when they wanted a divorce: I hired a litigator.

It didn’t take long for litigation to take on an ugly life of its own. Our conflicts escalated. Costs quickly mounted. Communication between us shut down. The process dragged on, seemingly with no end in sight.

I knew there was a better way for everyone

While all of this was going on, I recognized that like myself, other people—men, women, and their children—were suffering needlessly. I realized that there had to be a way to divorce peacefully. That’s when I began my extensive training in Divorce Mediation and in Collaborative Divorce.

I’ve been working mostly as a divorce mediator and collaborative attorney for many years. I love my work. I especially enjoy being able to give couples a way to change the dynamic of their relationships: I help them communicate in a positive way. And I help them transition from angry and dysfunctional husbands and wives to cooperative mothers and fathers.

Yes, I’ve been where you are. For years. I was unhappily married, angry, frightened, and sad. Thanks in part to that experience, though, plus my extensive training and years of successful divorce mediation and collaborative practice, I can help ensure that you no longer have to be in the same terrifying place.

Divorce Mediation


Divorce mediation is the process in which two spouses who may be angry, hurt, and/or resentful, work with a trained, experienced, and neutral professional to resolve all of the issues involved in ending their marriage—and divorcing peacefully.

Put simply, the goal of mediation is for even furious spouses to reach a win-win agreement, rather than having one spouse’s victory meaning the other’s defeat. Here are some of the many advantages to approaching divorce this way.

The Key Benefits of Mediation:

You divorce smoothly and with dignity:
Mediation minimizes the adversarial nature of divorces. You end your marriage smoothly. The mediator’s job is to be sure that both parties’ needs and concerns are addressed.

In addition, a mediator knows the issues that need to be decided, and makes sure that they’re addressed.

The decisions you make are yours:
You and your spouse decide how to divide property and assets, as well how to handle spousal and child support. You decide where the kids will live and how much time each of you will spend with them.

The mediator helps the parties talk and create an agreement. The result: Decisions that could affect the rest of your lives are made by you, and not handed down by a judge who doesn’t know you, your spouse, or your kids. Once the agreement you reach is signed and notarized, it is legally binding.

You save a ton of money:
Generally, the total cost of mediation for both spouses (depending on complexity) ranges from roughly $3,000 to $10,000, which includes the drafting and filing of an official Agreement.

The cost of litigation can easily run $30,000 to $70,000, and frequently, far more--for each spouse. That’s money that would be better spent on college tuition, household expenses, or almost anything else.

You save time:
Litigation carries on for months, and in many cases, years. In the meantime, neither of you can move on with your lives. Mediation is usually accomplished within a matter of hours, often spread over just a few weeks. Moreover, appointments are made at your convenience. With litigation, the court dictates your appearances.

Positive focus:
Mediation emphasizes what’s constructive, rather than fueling conflict. Mediators encourage and guide the conversation, helping each spouse hear (possibly for the first time) the needs, concerns, and wishes of the other. The environment is neutral, safe, and confidential.

Successful mediation often leads to a better ability to give and take, and to have non-confrontational discussions in the future.

Mediation is much easier on your kids:
Divorce is always hard on children, but when you and your spouse together make the decisions on the basis of what’s best for them, rather than fighting it out in court, you prevent your kids from becoming pawns in a vicious and ugly battle.

With mediation, your kids have much greater stability. They don’t have to endure their parents’ furor and fighting, or the enormous stress of court procedures. They’re spared the emotional trauma of drawn-out court combat.

Once signed and properly notarized, the agreement you reach through mediation is legal and binding. However, it is not made public. Information about your personal lives and finances remain private. On the other hand, with litigation, every detail could conceivably end up in the media. At the very least, everyone can hear the details of your lives in the courtroom.

You still can have an attorney present, if you wish:
Some people prefer to have an attorney present at mediation sessions. Others simply want to have an attorney available to consult with, if they wish. Either way, you both should have your own attorneys review the settlement before you sign it, to be sure that your legal rights are being protected.

Agreements are more likely to be respected:
When both you and your spouse have agreed to the terms of the settlement, both of you are far more likely to adhere to it than if the terms were dictated by an outsider--e.g., a judge--or after you've settled due to exhaustion or exasperation with the litigation process.

Sheryl-Anne Sastow
Attorney at Law, Mediator, Arbitrator
998C Old Country Road, Suite 125
Plainview, NY 11803
P:  516-314-6116
E: [email protected]

Offices in New York City,
Great Neck, Garden City,
Plainview, and Melville