What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is the process of bringing about a fair and equitable settlement between individuals through the intervention of an experienced and impartial third party. The divorce mediator works closely with couples to help them work out a mutually beneficial agreement that serves their best interests and those of their family.
Why should I use Divorce Mediation instead of a litigated divorce?
Divorce mediation is a cooperative process that addresses the specific concerns and needs of each individual and their children. Both parties have total control over the outcome and understand the implications of the agreement they sign. As a result, divorce mediation saves time, reduces unwanted emotional turmoil for all members of the family, and is considerably more cost effective.
How much does Divorce Mediation cost?
Divorce mediation costs less than traditional litigation. Mediators typically charge an hourly fee and often do not require a retainer.
Is Divorce Mediation Legally Binding?
Once the couple has come to agreement on all the issues that need to be addressed, the mediator will draw up what is called a Memorandum of Understanding . Basically,this is a summary of all the agreements that have been made. It is not a legal document. It is highly recommended that each person then take this document to their own lawyer to review. If no changes are made at that point, then the couple can choose one of the lawyers to create the Marital Settlement Agreement – which is the legal document that is signed and filed with the courts. Nothing is binding until until the divorce is final.
How long does a divorce take using the Divorce Mediation process?
That really depends upon the couple. How fast are you able to produce the information that is needed and come to agreement with your spouse? I have seen people accomplish this in two meetings. Others have needed more time to gather information and come to agreement.
Will I still need my own attorney?
It is highly recommended that people seek legal advice from a divorce lawyer at any time in the mediation process. It is helpful for people going through divorce to know what their rights are while making decisions. Lawyers representing each party should be consulted for review once the mediation is completed and agreements made. The parties will then choose a lawyer to put their agreement into the legal document that will be signed and filed with the courts.
What other professionals are involved in the Divorce Mediation process?
Professionals can be consulted in the mediation process just the same way as they can be in the litigated divorce. Often a business, an asset , or a pension plan will need valuation. There are specialists in each of these areas that can be hired to provide this information. It is a good idea to have a good mental health professional while going through your divorce to help you with the many emotions you will face. Consulting with a financial professional is also wise to help you understand the implication of any agreements you are considering. Also a good idea to have a divorce lawyer to consult with along the way and at the end for review and drafting of legal documents.

What if I change my mind about Divorce Mediation?
Should you decide that divorce mediation is not right for your situation or you are not satisfied with the mediation process, you can retain an attorney and proceed with the traditional litigation process.
We already started litigation – can we switch to Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation can be introduced at any stage, even after litigation has started. If a couple reaches a point where litigation has become unproductive, they can turn to divorce mediation and take the decision-making process into their own hands.
Is Divorce Mediation Tax Deductible?
Fees attributed to a dissolution of marriage are not deductible, which includes pleadings, court appearances, and non-tax related negotiations, custody, visitation, and child support fees. However, as a general rule, you are able to only for services performed in connection with actual tax advice and/or advice that gives rise to taxable income. Always good to speak with a tax professional regarding this topic.
Does Mediation always result in a settlement agreement?
No. Parties may spend time in mediation and come to the conclusion that they must have their case settled for them by a court. Nothing is guaranteed.
Does Mediation have a formal discovery process?
No. If one of the parties cannot fully negotiate their position without first obtaining information from the other party, forcing disclosure of this information is not possible. Divorce mediation relies on the other party’s good faith and honest negotiation.

Divorce FAQ

How do I get a divorce New Jersey?
Divorce is a legal process. In NJ you will go to court and go before a judge to get your divorce finalized. It is important to know that you can get to the terms of your divorce in a multiple of ways. This process of getting to the agreement is what can take so much time, money, and acrimony. If the two of you are able to sit together and agree on how assets and liabilities will be divided, and how you will take care of and spend time with your children, you can save yourselves a great deal of money and time. You can also use the services of a mediator, collaborative team or lawyers to assist you in coming the terms of your agreement. Once the agreement is made, you will need a lawyer to draft the Marital settlement agreement which is the document that you will both sign and be filed with the courts. It is very wise and highly recommended that regardless of how you come to your agreement, that you each have a lawyer review your agreement prior to signing.
How do I start a divorce case?
I suggest everyone start with mediation first. Once the two of you have decided that it is time to get divorced find a mediator and go there together to understand what the process is and what your options are. If you can work together in mediation to come to the terms of your agreement you will likely be getting it done in the most private, least costly, and fastest way.
Do I need a lawyer to get divorced?
You don’t need a lawyer to come to the terms of your agreement. However, it is highly recommended to have a lawyer review what you are agreeing to prior to signing your marital settlement agreement. This is a BIG deal. And once you sign, and are divorced, the agreement is binding. You want to make sure you understand your legal rights and the ramifications of what you are agreeing to prior to signing. You do not want to find yourself in court years after your divorce trying to fix what you now see as errors in your agreement.
What is the difference between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?
A contested divorce is when you cannot agree on the terms of your divorce and you leave it to a judge in a trial to decide for you. An uncontested divorce is when you are able to come to agreement on how you will divide your assets, liabilities, and time with and care for your children.
Where can my spouse and I get help to work out our differences outside of court?
Mediation. A mediator is a neutral facilitator helping the two of you come to agreement. A mediator can be used at any time in the divorce process even when lawyers are already involved. A mediator can also be helpful with post divorce disagreements. It is likely that using a mediator will be the fastest, most private, least expensive way to come to agreement.
What will the judge decide in my divorce case?
No one knows the answer to that question. That is why it is in your best interest to come to terms of your agreement together. No one knows your family better than the two of you.

Collaborative Divorce FAQ

Whats does collaborative Divorce mean?
Each person hires a collaboratively trained lawyer to represent them in the divorce process. The lawyers will often choose a mental health professional and a financial neutral to all work together as a team to help the couple come to the terms of their agreement. The team signs an agreement that says the couple will settle – they will be able to agree on all the area that need to be addressed, and will not need the courts involvement in the process.
How do I know that Collaborative Divorce will work for me?
Collaborative may be a good way to go if you feel that you need attorney representation throughout the process however you are interested in working together to come to the terms of your agreement, rather than having attorneys battle it out on your behalf.
Is Collaborative Divorce expensive?
It will likely be more expensive than mediation , because in collaborative you are still paying two lawyers and other professionals their hourly rate. It may however, be less expensive than litigation if you and the team are able to get to the terms of the agreement quickly.
What are some benefits of using a collaborative divorce?
Private, not involving the courts, less expensive than litigation, can be more creative in solutions, likely to be faster than litigation.
Is a collaborative divorce cheaper than a traditional divorce, is it a faster process?
Most Likely
Is Collaborative practice the same as mediation?
No. In collaborative you are each working with a specially trained lawyer who is representing each of you throughout the process. A mediator is a neutral facilitator- not representing either side.