Are you putting off a divorce because you dread the impending legal battles? A divorce in New Jersey does not have to be a battleground. At Sandelands Eyet LLP, we offer divorce mediation services that can help you make peace through an alternative dispute resolution process.
When couples divorce, each party typically finds his or her own divorce attorney to represent his or her best interests during the at times arduous process. At times, when two attorneys are pitted against each other, it can create an uncomfortable scenario that escalates a conflict. With divorce mediation, couples have the opportunity to sit down with a neutral third party to discuss and resolve the issues that present themselves during divorce. This is one of the preferred methods of negotiating a divorce settlement and may be a required step in the divorce process for some New Jersey couples.
Compromise and Cooperation
During divorce mediation, a mediator — often an attorney — does not make decisions for either spouse. In fact, you may have your own attorney present during negotiation sessions. Instead, the mediator attempts to replace conflict with compromise and cooperation between you and your spouse. Even if you don’t believe that you can work with a mediator because you and your spouse resolve to conflict when you are in the presence of the other, many couples wind up financially and emotionally stronger than they would have had they fought and litigated their settlement in court.
A mediator’s responsibility is to guide both parties through a problem-solving approach to reaching a settlement. The process encourages couples to attack the issues at hand rather than each other. A highly-trained divorce mediator is capable of keeping spouses focused and dedicated to working together on a resolution.
Mediation can provide several advantages over litigation, not least of which is the fact that the spouses end up with more control over the decisions they reach. Additionally, mediation saves couples from the costs of litigation — both financially and emotionally. Mediation attempts to help couples resolve issues on their own time in a location that is convenient for them and within a setting that is casual and inviting, rather than one that is cold and adversarial.
Steps to Successful Mediation
Mediation is a simple process that can provide great relief to couples seeking to divorce. Typically, it helps couples finalize their divorces more quickly than leaving it up to the family court because mediation occurs on the parties’ own time. Mediation also keeps divorce proceedings private.
The mediation process may consist of the following:
- Identifying the issues
- Discovery of information
- Consulting with attorneys
Identifying Issues in Divorce
When a couple begins mediation, the parties must identify all the issues which they must resolve. These issues usually include child custody, child support, parenting time, alimony, and the equitable distribution of assets and debts. Once all of the issues are on the table, couples may proceed to gathering key information needed to resolve them.
Discovering Pertinent Information
Both parties attempting to mediate their divorce must be open and honest with each other regarding information that plays a role in reaching decisions. When one party has most of this information, he or she must share it fully and truthfully with the other party.
It may take several mediation sessions to gather all the necessary information, including information regarding a spouse’s finances, such as the value of his or her property and debts.
Consulting with Attorneys
Each party to a divorce mediation is encouraged to consult with a private lawyer regarding how New Jersey’s divorce laws apply to their case. Although many divorce mediators may be attorneys, they may not provide legal advice or appear to take sides with either party. Parties are advised to consult with attorneys before signing any agreement.
Mediation sessions are casual and informal, and they are frequently sought by couples in distress who seek to maintain a respectful relationship for the benefit of their children. If, at any time you wish to consult with a New Jersey divorce attorney for legal advice, you may do so during these proceedings. For many couples, divorce mediation is a welcome alternative to resolving the several issues that come up in court, including child custody, parenting plans, alimony, and the division of property and other marital assets.
At Sandelands Eyet LLP, we have divorce attorneys and divorce mediators in New Jersey to help you work out the best approach for you to finalize your marriage dissolution while protecting you and your family’s best interests. To discuss your divorce with a professional mediator, contact our office at (908) 470-1200.