In New Jersey, a couple has the option of resolving the terms of their divorce though mediation, as opposed to a court hearing. Mediation is a collaborative process, in which a couple attempts to reach an agreement on issues such as child custody, domestic support and distribution of assets. The process is often times facilitated by a New Jersey Supreme Court certified mediator, who is specially trained to help spouses resolve their differences in a civil manner. Mediation may be court- ordered as a mandated step prior to a divorce hearing. However, couples can also choose to enter into mediation as an alternative to a court hearing, thereby saving time and money.
In cases wherein you are required by the Ocean or Monmouth Family Courts to participate in divorce mediation, you will be appointed a mediator from the court’s roster of approved mediators. In order to be included on this list the mediator would have to completed 40 hours of mediation training, with substantial focus on family law. Your mediator will also be experienced in economic mediation, which is essential for assisting you with financial issues such as alimony and child support. It is recommended that you attempt to try mediation before you are ordered to do so by the court. Not only could this save you time and money, but it also gives you the opportunity to select the mediator of your choice. Keep in mind that your mediator must be someone to whom you feel comfortable disclosing private and confidential information. A qualified mediator will also be able to advise you of related services, such as mental health practitioners to provide counseling for your children. He or she will also be able to fully explain New Jersey state laws pertaining to divorce mediation, and how it applies to your specific Ocean County divorce situation.
If you are comfortable proceeding after the initial consultation, you and your spouse will schedule a time to meet with the mediator at a neutral location. It is imperative that both parties are willing to compromise and work through their differences in a civil manner. They must also be willing to provide the mediator with all requested documentation, and give honest answers to questions pertaining to their finances and lifestyles. Although these questions may seem invasive, the mediator must have certain knowledge about your circumstances in order to make suggestions that are fair to both parties. The mediation process begins with the mediator stressing the importance of working as a team. The mediator will also explain how a process of cooperation and friendship is in the best interest of your children. Furthermore, mediation is also beneficial to your own emotional healing, since it empowers you to end the marriage on your terms as opposed to deferring to a Judge’s ruling.
If you have questions about divorce mediation, call Villani & DeLuca at (732) 965-3350 to schedule a free, no- obligation consultation with Partner Vincent C. DeLuca, Esq. Mr. DeLuca is a certified divorce and economic mediator who has successfully mediated hundreds of divorces throughout Ocean and Monmouth County. He is also one of only 5 New Jersey Supreme Court certified Matrimonial Attorneys, which requires specialized training and knowledge in all aspects of family law. Mr. DeLuca will explain your rights and options, and answer any questions about the mediation process. He can also assist you with post- divorce modifications to your divorce agreement, should that become an issue in the future. If it is determined that mediation is not possible, our experienced divorce attorneys can provide you the effective legal representation you need to protect your interests.