Mediation, sometimes known as Alternative Dispute Resolution, is a fairly new concept, and as such, is not widely understood by the general public. It offers many benefits over traditional divorces, and is quickly becoming the new standard in uncontested divorces. Let's take a closer look at what mediation entails, and what advantages it can offer you.
What is Mediation?
In a traditional divorce, each party generally hires their own divorce attorney. The attorneys then meet and try to negotiate the terms of the divorce settlement. Many times, issues such as child custody, child support, division of assets, and spousal support are over-litigated, and an agreement cannot be reached. It is then that the matter is taken to a court, the attorneys present their cases, and a judge makes the ultimate ruling regarding the divorce settlement and what each party is entitled to.
In mediation, a divorcing couple hires only one attorney, known as a mediator. The mediator acts as a neutral party, and when agreements cannot be reached between the parties, the mediator steps in and helps to brainstorm solutions, keeps communication open between the couple, and helps them stay focused on the process and not devolve into old, unwinnable arguments. A mediator will always remain impartial, they work for the couple, not any one individual party.
Eventually a mediator will help the couple to reach an agreement which will then be presented to the court, and after a review process, the divorce will be granted along with the agreed upon terms.
Now that we have a better understanding of what mediation is, lets talk about some of the many advantages it offers over traditional divorce litigation.
Mediation Saves Money
One of the most immediate and important advantages mediation has over divorce is its cost. In a traditional divorce both parties hire their own divorce attorneys. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that some attorneys over-litigate divorce cases, arguing over every last detail in order to clock as much time as possible. Even if that is not the case, paying for two different attorneys can cost a couple a great deal of money.
In general, mediation has been found to cost about 1/5 as much as a traditional divorce. The average cost for a divorce in New Jersey is about $15,000, so a mediation will probably cost around $3,000. The benefits here are quite obvious, and have very real implications for anyone considering a divorce.
Mediation Saves Time
Not only does mediation usually save divorcing couples a great deal of money, it can also save time. Back-logged courts and tedious court procedures can take a great deal of time. Most New Jersey divorces take around 18 months to finalize. Depending on your mediation schedule (some couples meet once a week, others once a month, the schedule is up to the couple to decide), a mediated divorce can take as little as 90 days to resolve.
Mediation is Private and Confidential
In a traditional divorce, evidence such as finances or possibly wrong-doings is gathered and then presented to the court. As such a public record is kept, and available, for anyone interested or motivated enough to look. For high-profile or high-net worth couples, or local business owners or community leaders, this isn't always ideal or wanted. You have a right to your privacy, and mediation offers an excellent way of keeping your family's private affairs private.
Morris County, NJ Divorce Mediators Can Help You
As you can see, there are a great many benefits mediation can have over a traditional divorce. Not only do you save time and money, the reduced stress and conflict mediation offers is a great incentive as well.
If you are considering mediation as an option, or would like to learn more about how a mediator can help you, the law offices of Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Bradley is ready to speak with you. Featuring a team of highly skilled family law attorneys and trained mediators, we have experience resolving any divorce issues which may arise.
To speak with one of our family law attorneys today, please contact us online or through our Morristown offices at 973-975-4043.