Woodbridge Divorce Mediation Lawyers

Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method for achieving peaceful agreements between spouses. It can be instrumental in avoiding conflict, time, and the expense of courtroom legal battles. Mediation is especially beneficial for resolving issues regarding the custody and care of children.

It’s important to note that divorce mediation is not a requirement in New Jersey. It is a voluntary process that couples can choose to enter into, often more prevalent in no-fault divorces. However, even in contested divorces or when spouses are in disagreement, mediation can be court-ordered, providing an opportunity for resolution.

Our experienced Woodbridge divorce mediation lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC understand couples’ challenges when divorcing and can provide the guidance and support needed to navigate this difficult time. We are trained and experienced with mediation and encourage all of our clients to attempt the process to amicably resolve the issues surrounding divorce.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Mediation helps divorcing spouses reach a final settlement agreement in an amicable and structured manner. It is facilitated by a neutral, trained, third-party mediator. Mediation is private, confidential, and exceptionally helpful for making decisions and resolving disputes in less time and expense than traditional courtroom divorce proceedings. Sessions are typically voluntary, though they can be court-ordered to attempt to resolve lasting disputes.

Mediation also preserves relationships and allows couples to remain amicable following the divorce, particularly for divorcing couples who expect regular contact following divorce, such as co-parenting or joint business ownership.

What Do Mediators Do?

Divorce mediators play a crucial role as neutral third parties. They guide couples through discussions and negotiations, fostering an environment that encourages mutually beneficial settlement agreements. While they cannot make decisions for couples or provide recommendations to the courts, mediators structure conversations to help couples identify issues and priorities and work through them. If agreements are reached, the mediator ensures they are presented to the court for review and signing.

What Are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation?

Mediation helps eliminate conflict, animosity, and stress that is standard in many divorces. The core of mediation focuses on a divorcing couples’ cooperation to reach a mutually beneficial agreement in a series of mediation sessions to discuss and negotiate the divorce terms, benefitting couples by offering:

  • More control over the decision-making process.
  • Reduced conflict.
  • Confidential proceedings.
  • Open, honest, and informal exchange of information.
  • Full disclosure of relevant information.
  • Productive negotiation.
  • Tailored settlement agreements.
  • Less time and expenses.

For mediation to be productive, both parties must agree to maintain a civil relationship while negotiating the division of assets, child custody and support, alimony, and visitation. Both must sign participation agreements and adhere to the terms.

How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?

The time involved in divorce mediation depends on each spouse’s ability to discuss and agree on the specific circumstances of their divorce. Mediation requires significantly less time than traditional courtroom divorces and generally concludes within a few months. Factors that can influence the length of mediation include:

  • Alimony
  • Children’s education
  • Co-owned real estate
  • Division of assets
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance terms
  • Issues involving children, such as child custody, child support, visitation, and co-parenting plans
  • Property ownership and mortgages
  • Retirement and pension accounts

Do I Need to Prepare for Mediation?

Adequately preparing for divorce mediation can save time, conflict, and divorce costs. To prepare, you should take the following steps:

  • Research qualified mediators with substantial experience and success in managing productive discussions and helping spouses reach mutual agreements.
  • Gather and bring important documents and information, including a list of assets, financial records, mortgage information, health and life insurance information, vehicles, debt, investment property, retirement funds, business interests, and more.
  • Determine the goals you wish to accomplish, questions you want answered, what is most important, and what you are willing to compromise on, such as assets to retain or child custody and visitation.
  • Plan to cooperate throughout the mediation process, designed to be a peaceful, conflict-free alternative to litigation. You must be respectful, cooperative, and willing to be productive for mediation to succeed.

If mediation goes smoothly and you reach a final agreement, the mediator will submit the agreements to the court for approval. A final divorce decree will be issued without stepping into a courtroom if the judge has no concerns.

Do I Need a Lawyer During Divorce Mediation?

Whether your respective lawyers attend mediation is a personal decision. Your lawyer is not required to be present, but you are entitled to private meetings during the process to ask questions and seek legal clarification or advice. Benefits of having your lawyer present include:

  • Equalize the balance of power if one spouse is intimidating or possesses more knowledge regarding finances, expenses, assets, or investments.
  • Instant clarification of legal requirements or ramifications.
  • A quicker process by being able to address questions in the moment.
  • Provide objective legal advice.
  • Ensure your legal rights are protected.
  • Provide insight into the court’s perspective and potential rulings if disputes must be resolved in the courtroom.

While you are not required to include your lawyer, you are much more likely to reach an agreement with correct and relevant legal information the instant you have questions. However, if you choose not to include your lawyer, best practice dictates including conditions requiring your lawyer to review and discuss tentative agreements before committing to avoid failed agreements and prevent hostility and mistrust if one spouse backs out of an agreement on the lawyer’s advice.

Our Woodbridge Divorce Mediation Lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC Help Clients Navigate the Mediation Process

ADR methods, such as mediation, provide divorcing couples an amicable and productive alternative to a lengthy, contentious, and expensive courtroom battle. If you are interested in learning more about divorce mediation and discussing its benefits, our Woodbridge divorce mediation lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC will help. Call today at 732-494-6099 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Metuchen, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Somerset County.