Divorce can be a long and stressful process. Drawn out divorce cases that end in litigation are often emotionally devastating and financially damaging. Contentious topics like child custody and alimony can take months to figure out, often requiring a judge to take the decision out of the hands of the couple.
However, there is another way to resolve the dissolution of a marriage. Many couples choose divorce mediation in order to settle their disputes in a less contentious, more cooperative manner. Divorce mediation involves both parties coming together with a neutral third party known as a mediator. The mediator is not there to make decisions for the couple or mandate outcomes the way a judge would. This mediator helps guide the couple through the process of sorting out their outstanding issues in order to create a mutually satisfying, legally binding agreement that considers the needs and desires of both sides.
Is Divorce Mediation Right for My Situation?
While it takes two people to create a marriage, divorce only requires one. If an individual is truly set on this course, divorce is the only end result. So the choice becomes about what method you want to use to get there. Most people probably want the method that is the least stressful and most cost effective while also having the least impact possible on any children involved. Divorce mediation is that choice and no other option has anywhere near the advantages.
However, to make divorce mediation work there are certain prerequisite conditions, namely:
- Both parties are interested in making their own decisions regarding the divorce. The mediator is not there to give legal advice. The couple is in complete control of the process, so if one or both parties are unwilling to make their own decisions regarding the divorce, mediation will not work.
- Both parties are willing to attend and participate in divorce mediation. Divorce mediation cannot work if only a single party wants it. This is a two person process.
- Both parties must be mentally capable of making their own decisions. If one party is mentally incapacitated or otherwise incapable of making their own deicisions, mediation will not be an option.
- Both parties must be honest and transparent during the divorce mediation. The ability to make a legally binding agreement during mediation relies on both parties being honest and transparent during all stages of the process. Good faith negotiation is the bedrock of mediation, so both you and your spouse will need to be open about all relevant information, financial or otherwise. Inability to be honest or hiding information like financial assets will cause the mediation to fail and will likely end up in court.
No matter your situation, if you meet the above requirements, you are a good candidate for divorce mediation.
The Many Benefits of Divorce Mediation in New Jersey
So now that you know what divorce mediation is and whether your situation is a good fit, let’s go over some of the advantages that mediation has over a traditional divorce done via litigation.
A Quicker Process
Divorce mediation is under no time constraint, yet even drawn out mediation will take less time than your standard divorce via litigation. Divorce done through the courts can often take over a year, simply because the courts are often overwhelmed with cases. Combine that with both parties busy schedules and trying to get a court date everyone can agree on can be an exercise in frustration.
Divorce mediation, on the other hand, can be completed in as little as 2-3 months. Since the process need only involve you, your spouse and the mediator, issues can be resolved much quicker without needing to coordinate with the courts or attorneys. And because all issues have already been discussed and resolved, when you get do get to court to finalize the divorce the whole process will take weeks instead of months or years.
A Less Expensive Option
Divorce mediation will end up far cheaper than litigation for a number of reasons. The first, as previously mentioned, is that it will simply take less time to go through mediation as opposed to litigation. Second, mediation can be done with a single individual, the mediator, as opposed to two attorneys. Some mediators, like Steven B. Menack, don’t even require retainer fees. Since there is no back and forth between attorneys and no need to win anything, issues are resolved faster and cheaper.
A Peaceful Resolution
Hiring a neutral third party who works with both parties in mind can keep the process calm and focused. Mediation is all about mutual problem solving and helping the couple focus on the future and getting on with their lives as opposed to engaging in a prolonged conflict done in the name of winning something from the other side. Mediation allows for improved communication and a resolution that is beneficial for all involved, not just good for an attorney’s bottom line.
Better for Children
Divorce is hard on anyone but it can be especially difficult for children. Litigation often becomes more and more adversarial over time and kids will pick up on this, especially if you end up fighting so much it distracts you from focusing on them. They can start worrying over what is going to happen to them and wondering if maybe the divorce is somehow their fault and this can be highly damaging to a child. Divorce mediation will treat you like parents and help you make the best choices not only for yourself but also your children.
Control Over the Process
With divorces cases, many of the major decisions often end up out of the hands of the litigants, with a judge mandating things for the couple. In divorce mediation, however, all the decision making power belongs to you and your spouse. This not only allows both parties to reach desirable and agreeable outcomes but also control the entire process. The mediator helps facilitate discussion in order to enable the couple to come to an agreement that benefits everyone, as opposed to the win-lose scenarios common in court cases.
If avoiding the stressful, contentious and costly process of divorce sounds like the preferable course of action, then divorce mediation is the best solution.
A Positive and Collaborative Divorce
Divorce is already difficult. It does not have to be a battle where each side tries to undermine the other. Divorce mediation can help you come to a fair and reasonable agreement so that you and your spouse can move on with your lives. Steven B. Menack has helped thousands of clients reach a peaceful and satisfying conclusion to their marriage. Contact us to find out more about divorce mediation and whether it is right for your case.