In the past, most couples had to engage in divorce litigation to resolve the many issues inherent in divorce cases. Today, alternative dispute resolution methods are gaining in popularity as they can save you time, money, and peace of mind. One such method that is becoming more common is divorce mediation.
In divorce mediation, the two spouses work together with the help of a neutral third-party (i.e. the mediator) to reach an agreement on the issues in the divorce. The mediator helps the couple work through conflict but does not help them make decisions or make the decisions for them. Mediation can be helpful for couples who want to keep as much of the divorce as possible out of the courtroom, but mediation isn’t appropriate in every case. Let’s look at some types of divorce cases that are suitable for mediation and some that aren’t.
When Mediation Works
Mediation is ideal for cases involving mild to moderate conflict over any number of issues like alimony, property division, child custody, and child support. Mediation doesn’t require the parties come to the table totally in agreement; the mediator can help both spouses work through any disagreements they have. Nor does it require each spouse have a legal background. A spouse can have a traditional divorce attorney assist them in the mediation, therefore reducing the potential for decisions that are not in his or her best interests.
When It is Risky
Cases involving domestic violence or child abuse or neglect typically aren’t appropriate for mediation. The reason for this is evident; the two spouses must work together, often in the same room, for mediation to be successful. They must also make all the decisions on their own. If there is a severe imbalance of power or if it is evident someone of authority should be making the decisions, mediation may not be a good idea. Mediation leaves the potential for either spouse to influence the other. Therefore, if violence or harm are risk factors, mediation should be avoided.
Mediation can also be used successfully in custody and parenting time disputes. In fact, New Jersey courts often refer parents to the Custody and Parenting Time Mediation Program as it is often helpful for parents in conflict. But, again, cases involving child abuse or neglect are typically better suited for traditional litigation where a more thorough review of the facts at hand will take place, and any power imbalances will be mitigated.
Speak with an experienced New Jersey matrimonial attorney if you have questions about mediation. Mediation has many benefits, but it isn’t appropriate for every case. A skilled attorney can help you identify the right option for you given the facts and circumstances of your case.
Are you contemplating divorce? Williams Law Group, LLC can provide you with tenacious legal counsel to get you the outcome you want. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at [email protected], or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.