From the New Jersey – Association of Professional Mediators
Mediation is lead by a Neutral Mediator, who is an unbiased third party and engaged by both parties, to settle the issues of divorce.
- Mediation is a voluntary process. If one of the parties does not want to participate in mediation, mediation cannot be done.
- Decisions and agreements are made by the parties.
- Divorce is a legal process which must be agreed to and recorded by New Jersey's Family Court.
Mediation by committed parties is considered faster and cheaper than a litigated divorce. A mediated divorce is confidential and gives the parties a better ability to control their future. The alternative, a litigated divorce, hands over the control of their future to a judge who does not know them.
Mediation assists in reframing a non-working partnership into a new future as independent people. It can help change the dynamics of decision making by distinguishing business matters from emotional issues. This helps reduce the overall abrasive and destructive effects of divorce. In addition, as the parties continue to speak and work with each other during this process, it prepares them to more easily make post-divorce decisions.
In every divorce, the parties will do the following.
- Restructure the family unit. The parties must reach agreement on issues such as living arrangements for the children, child care, parenting, parent access, and education.
- Address financial issues. Both spouses must plan their financial futures and decide how their children will be supported, whether either spouse needs support (alimony), how property such as homes, bank accounts, pensions, retirement accounts, and investments will be divided.
- Follow state law and court procedures. The State of New Jersey has enacted laws and the Courts have rendered decisions and issued procedures that set out the rights of the various parties involved in a divorce.
Mediation begins by establishing objectives, confirming current agreements, developing a plan to resolve pending decisions, and ending with a written agreement. It is recommended that attorneys review the agreements and structure a formal Settlement Agreement. In addition to the review attorneys, other specialists may be enlisted as necessary including, but not limited to, a Financial Neutral and a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) specialist to prepare the documents necessary to separate retirement and pension accounts.
Mediation may also be used in family matters such as pre- and post-nuptial agreements, grandparent issues, domestic partnerships, and post-divorce disputes.