Private and Court-Ordered Mediation

New Jersey Private and Court-Ordered Mediation

There are two basic types of divorce mediation in New Jersey: private and court ordered. In either case what is discussed during the sessions is confidential and any decisions that are made are non-binding.

Private Mediation
In making the decision to resolve the issues of their divorce through mediation both parties must be willing to compromise. They must go into the negotiation with the idea that they will be flexible and will try to see things from the other’s point of view as well as from their own.

In private mediation the parties decide which matters they want to resolve through mediation. Even resolving one or two issues can save time and money. Issues that are not worked out can be resolved through litigation. Keep in mind that litigation does not necessarily mean that the case will go to court. “Litigation” simply refers to the process of taking legal action. In many cases, a settlement agreement is negotiated before the matter is heard in court.

If any or all issues reach the point of having to go to litigation, you will have to hire an attorney to protect your interests. Remember, the attorney you choose to represent you must be from a different firm.

Court-Ordered Mediation
Courts in New Jersey often require divorcing couples to try to resolve important issues through mediation before the case goes before the court.

Mediation can ordered by the court to resolve issues in two main areas:

  • Court-Ordered Mediation for Child Custody and Parenting Issues
  • Court-Ordered Mediation for Economic Issues

Court-Ordered Mediation for Child Custody and Parenting Issues
This mediation, available in every New Jersey county, is often mandated when a complaint for divorce involving a child-custody dispute is filed with the court. The goal is to allow the couple an opportunity to reach an amicable resolution to child custody and parenting issues without time-consuming, costly and contentious litigation. As always, the best interests of the children are of primary concern.

Because mediation—even if court mandated—is confidential and non-binding, if the couple does reach an agreement, then the mediator must outline the agreed-to provisions and send the document to the parties’ attorneys so that a consent order can be created. That consent order, when signed by all parties, can become an enforceable court order.

Court-mandated mediation for child custody and parenting issues is conducted free of charge.

Court-Ordered Mediation for Economic Issues
Mediation for economic aspects of family law cases is mandated when these matters still have not been resolved after the Matrimonial Early Settlement Panel (MESP) is held. Before continuing with litigation, the couple must attempt mediation with a court-approved New Jersey economic mediator.

The goal of this mediation is to resolve whatever economic issues remain before resorting to litigation. Each party should be prepared to honestly present his or her position. Examples of these issues are equitable distribution of marital property and spousal support. It is also possible to request this mediation before it is mandated.

As in private mediation, court-mandated economic mediation in New Jersey is confidential and non-binding. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will prepare a “Memorandum of Understanding,” detailing the provisions that were agreeable to both parties. That document will be sent to both parties’ attorneys and will be used to create an enforceable consent order. In some cases that consent order will become the couple’s Marital Settlement Agreement or Property Settlement Agreement.

Unlike mandated mediation for child custody and parenting issues, mandated mediation for economic issues is free only for the first two hours. If the couple decides to extend the session, the mediator’s hourly fees will be charged.

Aretsky Law Group, P.C., Divorce Mediators
The experienced divorce mediators at Aretsky Law Group, P.C., have years of experience helping clients resolve their issues through mediation. We work diligently to educate our clients so that they are equipped to make important decisions based upon New Jersey family law. Our goal is to have both parties come out of the mediation experience feeling as if their point of view has been heard and that their needs have been considered.

To learn about the mediation process and to help you decide if it is the right course for you and your spouse, contact Aretsky Law Group, P.C., at 800-537-4154.