The Many Upsides of Divorce Mediation in New Jersey
Outlining the Top Supporting Arguments for Divorce and Family Case Mediation in Hawthorne, Totowa, Clifton, Ringwood, Woodland Park, and across Passaic County
Deciding to divorce is as stressful as it is emotional. The thought of fighting with your spouse over finances, property, children, and the rest that goes with it can give anyone an anxiety attack. But your separation doesn’t have to be a messy, hostile court battle. Did you know that less than 5% of New Jersey divorces are settled in family court? Mediation is when a neutral third party works with you and your spouse to resolve your divorce-related issues and disagreements.
Recognizing How Mediation Works in NJ
You and your ex choose a mediator either together or from a list of possibilities that one spouse presents to the other. Mediators are neutral parties, usually lawyers, former judges, psychologists, social workers, or others. They facilitate discussion to resolve divorce matters where there is conflict. You and your spouse meet with the mediator over several sessions without your attorneys present. Obviously, you will meet with your attorney before and after the session to discuss concerns and legal issues. The mediation sessions end when everything has been resolved or when you and your ex cannot find common ground on a particular topic and must go to litigation.
Why is Mediation Often Chosen For Family-Related Disputes?
There are many reasons why couples choose mediation. Primarily they see it as an opportunity to resolve issues quickly and privately. The most popular topic is the division of assets. Each of us has items that are sentimental to us or are family heirlooms. They may not be of significant monetary value, but we want to keep them. In mediation, each spouse can create a list of items they are willing to give up and a list of non-negotiable items. A mediator can facilitate a compromise wherein each spouse is satisfied with the division of assets and debts.
Another topic is child custody, parenting plans, and child support. When each spouse can come into the discussion with their concerns and a parenting plan, a mediator helps place the focus on what would most benefit the child rather than using the child as a bargaining chip or a way to get back at the other person. Many mediators are familiar with child custody and visitation plans and can assist in finding a resolution in this area.
Once child custody issues are solved, the final most popular reason that couples seek mediation is to decide who will get custody of the pets. Generally, the pets stay with the children, but if there are no children, the furry family members can be seen as such. We love our pets and are emotionally attached to them, be they cats, dogs, rabbits, or lizards. Some exes request a visitation plan for their pets. Through mediation, a custodial agreement can be ironed out for our pets as well.
Top 11 Upsides of Mediation For Divorce
- CONTROL You and your ex are in the driver’s seat. You choose the areas you want to cover and how often you wish to meet.
- CONFIDENTIALITY – A litigated divorce is held in a public forum. All testimony and evidence are public records. Mediations are private and 100% confidential.
- TIMING – A mediated divorce is much shorter than a litigated one. Think about it, if you have to go to court, you need to coordinate the schedules of both lawyers and obtain a hearing date which could take up to a year. Mediation allows you and your ex to schedule the sessions more conveniently. By using mediation, a divorce could take as little as six months. It depends upon how long it takes you to agree on the terms of your separation.
- EXPENSE – Divorce is expensive no matter the situation; however, by using mediation, you and your ex could save substantially. Because a divorce through mediation is faster than one through the courts, your attorney’s fees will be lower. Also, the mediator is paid between you and your ex, so the cost isn’t as budget-busting. Many mediators will charge an overall fee that covers all of the sessions, while others charge per session. Frequently you will be able to pay in installments during the trajectory of the mediation.
- NEUTRALITY – The mediator’s role is to facilitate an agreement between the ex-spouses while remaining impartial. There are no strategies or tricks to place one person over the other.
- LESS STRESSFUL – Instead of being cross-examined in a courtroom, defending yourself at every turn while worrying that your divorce will never end, mediation puts you and your ex in a quiet room with a mediator who will listen to both sides and offer suggestions to solve the issues. This is not to suggest that every session will be smiles and sunshine, but the environment in mediation is much less hostile than in a courtroom.
- PRESERVES RELATIONSHIPS – When you and your ex can make decisions that affect your family in a collaborative, calm manner, it removes the need to “win.” It is much less about keeping score and more about making the best of a complex and painful situation. A good mediator will provide tools that can be used to improve your communication skills.
- FLEXIBLE – Maybe you and your ex-spouse have already settled some matters, such as alimony or the distribution of assets, so very little time will be spent on those. A mediator will put those aside and focus only on what is important to you. Other times disagreements are so entrenched that mediation is impossible, and you will need to go to court. Every mediation is as different as the people who participate in them.
- PROTECTS CHILDREN – When a relationship between spouses going through a divorce is contentious, hostile, and bitter, the children are always collateral damage. Children can be irreparably emotionally damaged, whether in the courtroom or at home, eavesdropping on angry exchanges over the phone. If there are two teams and they have to choose one, that makes for an anxious, fretted child. By contrast, in mediation, parents work in tandem to create a custody and visitation plan that everyone can agree on. This teaches the children practical communication skills and provides a safe emotional environment where they don’t need to choose sides.
- HIGHER RATE OF COMPLIANCE – Divorced couples who use mediation instead of litigation are four times more likely to follow the agreement they made than those who went to court. Experts say that because mediation provides a forum where the participants feel heard and have their concerns acknowledged, they are more apt to accept and carry out the terms of the divorce.
- PROVIDES CLOSURE – After hashing out the division of assets, child support, alimony, and a parenting (or pet) plan, both parties have a sense of accomplishment. They created a divorce agreement entirely on their terms. Neither of them got everything they wanted, but they knew the decisions were fair, and they could move on knowing they did their best.
Who Can Help with my Divorce Mediation in NJ?
If you are considering divorce or are looking for information about possible options, you need a divorce attorney who knows the resources available to answer your questions. Whether it is for mediation or litigation, now is the time to talk to a professional who can assist you in making serious decisions.
The Montanari Law Group has experts in all of the fields of divorce, from mediation to custody hearings and more. We will strategically analyze the best course of action for your divorce and provide you with the best possible outcome in Verona, Montvale, Wayne, Wyckoff, West Milford, and throughout Northern New Jersey.