Understanding the Mediation Process
Mediation is a type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) quickly becoming one of the most popular alternatives to a traditional divorce. Mediation may not work for every couple, but it works more often than you may think.
Just because you and your spouse cannot agree on certain important divorce issues such as child custody, child support, division of marital assets and debt, and spousal support, does not mean that mediation won’t work for you. As long as both parties are willing to listen to each other’s needs and concerns, and are willing to make compromises in an effort to more peaceably, privately, and cost effectively resolve your divorce, mediation can be an extremely beneficial alternative to divorce for you.
But what is mediation, and how does it work? Let’s take a look.
What is Mediation in Bergen County?
The mediation process is a divorce alternative which involves a single attorney trained in the mediation process whose role is to act as a neutral third party. This mediator will help the divorcing couple to express their individual needs and concerns during discussions, set goals for each meeting and the process as a whole, advise the parties on their legal rights, and help the couple to make the compromises necessary, and key, to the mediation process.
After each meeting, your Bergen County mediator will update what is known as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This is the rough version of your eventual Marital Settlement Agreement. As the mediation process continues, your Memorandum of Understanding will be updated to reflect the discussions and decisions you, your spouse, and your mediator have and agree to. Once you and your spouse have settled the key divorce issues of child custody, child support, asset division, and alimony, your mediator will submit this final Memorandum of Understanding to the courts as a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). MSA’s resulting from the mediation process are given an expedited track through the court system, and as long as the courts believe your Marital Settlement Agreement to be equitable and reasonable, your divorce will be granted using the terms outlined in your MSA.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation is becoming more and more popular due to several important advantages it has over the traditional divorce process.
- Reduced Stress – As the requirement for a successful mediation process is having a couple who are willing to listen to each other’s needs and concerns, and make sometimes difficult, but necessary compromises, mediation is often a much less stressful process than divorce, where strained relationships often make compromise and discussion much more difficult, and parties sometimes pursue aggressive and unnecessary litigation as a form of revenge for perceived or real grievances.
- Reduced Timeline – Statistical evidence shows that most New Jersey divorces often take more than a year to resolve from beginning to end. In comparison, couples who pursue a divorce through the mediation process can generally expect for the process to be resolved in less than one year.
- Increased Privacy – As divorces are heard, discussed, and decided in a public court of law, a public record will exist of any and all of the information presented during the divorce process. This can include financial records and embarrassing or private family issues. Mediation, on the other hand, is solely between the divorcing parties and their mediator, and no public record will exist of any of the information discussed during the mediation process.
- More Economical – As a traditional divorce will almost always involve each party retaining their own Bergen County divorce lawyer, this will obviously increase the cost of that divorce compared to the mediation process where only a single attorney is needed. Additionally, court fees, and the frequent need for greater levels of litigation in the divorce process further add to the expense when compared to mediation.
Can Mediation Work for My Bergen County Divorce?
As previously noted, mediation may not work for everyone. However, just because you and your spouse cannot immediately agree on important issues does not mean mediation won’t work for you. As long as you are both committed to the process and the value it provides, are willing to truly listen and take into consideration one another’s concerns and needs, and are willing to make compromises when necessary to “meet in the middle”, the mediation process can, and most likely will, work for you.
Contact A Bergen County Divorce Mediator Today
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our trained mediators have extensive experience helping clients across Hackensack, Fort Lee, Ridgewood, and the greater Bergen County area to more peaceably, quickly, privately, and economically resolve their divorce through the mediation process.
By practicing exclusively family law, our firm can focus on the issues most important to you and your family, and provide you with compassionate, effective, and knowledgeable legal service in any family law matter, including divorce and mediation.
To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce and your options for taking advantage of the mediation process, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack office at (201) 397-1750.