Family Law Mediation
Mediation allows for a family law matter to be resolved within a structured setting with the assistance of a neutral/impartial third-party mediator. As a result, mediation is a fair, neutral process in which the mediator has no personal interest in the outcome beyond assisting the parties to reach an amicable settlement. It offers an opportunity to settle issues, including parenting time, child support, child custody, alimony, equitable distribution of all assets and liabilities and counsel fees. Successful mediation can dramatically reduce both the substantial emotional and financial costs of litigating a family law matter in Superior Court. Mediation also saves time and eliminates the formality of litigation in the New Jersey Family Part, which can take a year to several years, is eliminated with mediation.
Divorce mediation takes place in a confidential setting (the mediator’s office). This means that the parties involved do not have to endure frequent appearances at a County Courthouse, where Sheriff’s Officers monitor every action and every statement is recorded by the Court. This eliminates the anxiety of a Court proceeding. Additionally, any notes taken by a mediator are discarded at the conclusion of mediation, so that the parties’ personal lives do not become part of a public record.
To speak with an attorney about divorce mediation, please contact our office.
How much does it cost?
Mediators typically charge by an hourly rate. Fees are usually shared by the parties involved or advanced from a marital asset. A retainer agreement will be provided at the initial mediation session.
Does each party require an attorney to schedule/attend mediation?
No, there is no requirement that the parties retain counsel to schedule or attend mediation. This is because the mediator has a goal to assist the parties in reaching their own settlement agreement. A mediator will not represent either party in Court.
At the conclusion of a successful mediation, the mediator typically drafts a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the issues and agreement to each issue. The parties will then be advised to consult with independent counsel to review the agreement. However, neither party is bound to review and may voluntarily waive his or her right to counsel.
Do I have to sit in the same room as the other party?
No. If both parties absolutely refuse to sit together or it becomes counterproductive to the mediation process, the mediator will “caucus” – a common term for meeting separately with the parties in different rooms.