Experienced Divorce Mediation Attorneys in NJ and NY
Divorce Mediation is a family-centered process in which an impartial third party meets with a divorcing couple to help them reach a mutual and informed agreement for the terms of their separation, divorce or post-divorce dispute.
Mediation acknowledges that divorce is an emotional and legal event, and provides a safe setting for parties to communicate their needs and interests with each other while focusing on principled problem solving such as fairness, self-determination and the best interest of all family members.
Mediation is an informal process in which the parties themselves are in control and empowered to make their own decisions. Mediation seeks to reduce the tension and trauma of divorce, not increase it. This enables couples to achieve a sense of wholeness after the emotional and financial chaos of ending their marriage. Mediation does not require each spouse to view the other as an adversary. Instead, the mediator helps the couple work together to find the best way to separate. Mediation aims to reduce hostile feelings, so that individuals can better adjust to the separation or divorce and plan for the future.
Through this collaborative environment, couples negotiate their own agreement and, in the process, develop the tools for resolving future differences. Conflict can cause the productive airing of differences and can lead to creative solutions that address the changing needs of all family members.
Mediation encourages people to avoid past patterns and “getting stuck” in what went wrong in the past. Instead, parties focus on what they want for themselves and their children. Qualified mediators help couples shift into new and productive ways of communicating and problem solving, even while they are working towards their divorce.
Moderate fees are based on hourly rates and payable after each session. There is no up-front retainer. Mediation takes significantly less time than litigation and because both parties pay one mediator instead of two advocates, the total cost will be substantially less than hiring separate lawyers in an adversarial process. A typical comprehensive mediated divorce takes 4-5 sessions, whereas a typical litigated divorce can take years.
After a discussion to understand the mediation process, the couple, with the help of the mediator, begin by discussing each spouse’s concerns and interests. They gather any necessary information and determine criteria for making decisions. Step by step, the couple, having a chance to be fully heard, and to listen to each other, decides on the type of agreement they seek. The goal is to find a “win-win” result; a comprehensive settlement good for both spouses and their children.
Lawyers can help their client understand the law and make informed agreements. It is recommended that before the final agreement is signed, each party consult an independent attorney to review the mediated agreement.
Once all the outstanding issues are resolved and a tentative agreement has been reached, that understanding will be put down into a formal, written agreement. Once the parties sign that agreement, it will not only be binding as a legal contract, but it will generally be accepted by the Courts should they later wish to finalize a divorce.
Mediation Fast Facts
- Promotes communication and cooperation (not antagonism and adversity).
- Allows the parties to keep control over the decisions that affect their lives without the dictates of the judicial process.
- Provides the opportunity to define and address all the particular interests and needs of everyone involved.
- Helps the children win when they see their parents working together for their interests and future.
- Costs significantly less than litigation.
- Takes less time than litigation, enabling couples to sooner move ahead with their lives.
- Focuses on the future, towards rebuilding instead of destroying and casting blame.
- Explores creative options independent of legal parameters.
- Research shows that compliance and satisfaction with mediated agreements is higher than those imposed by a court, resulting in less post-divorce litigation.
Matters Typically Decided in Divorce Mediation Include:
- Parenting Arrangements
- Child Support
- Property Distribution
- Debt Allocation
- Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
- Tax Considerations
- Pre-Nuptial Agreements
Sounds good in theory, but still have doubts?
Understandable. This is likely the first time you are going through a separation or divorce and an alternative to the traditional adversarial process may make you uneasy.
But consider this analogy: If you had a back problem or another physical ailment, would surgery be your first option? Probably not, especially if a different form of treatment is available claiming to offer all the same benefits of a full cure and recovery without any of the significant risks of surgery. At least, you would seek a second opinion.
There is a way of resolving disputes, getting separated, divorced or working out a pre-nuptial agreement without risking the loss of an amicable relationship and/or the ability to have a positive co-parenting plan (not to mention losing an arm and a leg in professional fees.), not to mention losing an arm and a leg in professional fees. Mediation offers a better alternative of treatment. Considering that 98% of all divorce cases settle before going to trial and since mediation is voluntary and confidential, there is little to no risk in seeing if it may work for you.