Things to know about divorce mediation in New Jersey

In certain states, including New Jersey, mediation is a required step in the divorce process. Under New Jersey law divorcing couples who disagree over financial matters or child custody issues must attempt to reach an agreement through mediation before having their disputes settled by a judge. However, if both spouses agree, nearly any issue relating to divorce in New Jersey can be resolved through mediation, which offers a number of potential advantages.

Divorce mediation offers advantages over litigation

Depending on each family's individual circumstances, divorce mediation can often be a desirable alternative to traditional divorce litigation. For couples who choose divorce mediation, the advantages may include the potential for lower costs, swifter resolutions and more control over the final outcome of the dispute. In addition, some people prefer mediation because it offers more privacy and confidentiality than is typically available through the litigation process.

Another aspect of divorce mediation that appeals to some New Jersey couples is its potential to help divorcing spouses find common ground and part ways with a minimum of conflict. This can be especially important for parents, business partners and other spouses who expect to remain in contact with one another after the divorce and wish to remain on amicable terms.

What makes divorce mediation different?

Divorce mediation in New Jersey typically consists of a series of meetings between the divorcing spouses and a neutral mediator. In many cases, the spouses elect to have their attorneys present during the mediation sessions as well.

The main difference between mediation and other forms of dispute resolution, such as courtroom litigation, is that mediation allows the spouses themselves to directly control the outcome. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, whose role is to hear arguments from both sides and decide on a resolution, a mediator's role is not to take sides or issue a verdict. Instead, the mediator acts as a facilitator of the negotiation between the two spouses, providing structure to the conversation and helping them to identify issues, priorities and potential solutions. If the spouses are not able to come to an agreement through mediation, they still have the option of going to court to have any remaining issues settled by a judge.

Talk to a lawyer to learn more about divorce mediation

If you are interested in learning more about the New Jersey divorce mediation process and how it may be able to help you and your spouse settle your divorce amicably and efficiently, speak with an attorney near you who has experience with divorce mediation.