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Mediating the Divorce

The New Jersey Court Rules require that parties to a divorce have been advised of the option to use mediation to resolve their divorce. Mediation can be done with both parties acting pro se or being unrepresented by counsel with the mediator assisting the participants to discuss their concerns and arrive at an agreement. Divorcing couples can use the mediator prior to filing the divorce complaint. The mediator does not represent either party. The attorney acting as a mediator conducts a cooperative process to help the couple together make the transition out of the marriage and for their future.

Some benefits of mediation are that the discussions are private and the couple can participate directly with each other about the issues facing them. The mediator attorney provides expert guidance on the legal issues and helps the parties reach a final divorce agreement which is legally sound.
The attorney who is the mediator cannot file the divorce complaint or appear for the final judgment. Each party may want his/her own attorney to review the settlement agreement to prepare the pleadings for divorce and to appear in Court for the final judgment. However, the case matter which is often basis for most of the litigation is already done (the Property Settlement Agreement).

Mediation can be a less expensive alternative, faster, and very successful. If the parties have been able to share and express their common goals and interests, there can be success with the couple adhering to their agreement for the post-divorce relationship.

The Property Settlement Agreement normally contains provisions for custody, parenting time, support, division of property, medical and insurance coverage. Each family has unique issues which become part of the Property Settlement Agreement.

A key ingredient for successful mediation is full, honest disclosure and cooperation. This is important for resolution, not only for financial matters, but also for custody and parenting time. In a divorce which is not mediated, the Court will require a Case Management schedule and provide dates for discovery and evaluations. Frequently, the Court will order economic mediation or custody mediation within the context of a contested divorce to assist the parties and to get past a contentious issue. The Courts always aim to encourage the parties settle their issues.

Tanya N. Helfand, Esq. concentrates in Family Law in NY and NJ. We have a free ½ hr. consultation. Tanya N. Helfand, Esq., is a Certified Matrimonial Attorney and mediator. The firm welcomes your questions and inquiries at tanyah@tanyahelfand.com. Everything is confidential. This article is not legal advice. Please consult an attorney.

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