Couples that have reached the point of filing for divorce have likely tried different things to salvage their relationship. Be it counseling, therapy, date nights, or shared hobbies – the list of things that couples on the verge of divorce have tried is likely long. With those attempts to save their marriage feeling like failures, couples may look at options like mediation and collaborative divorce as similar and likely to fail. However, there are significant differences that can make mediation and collaborative divorce a success even with a history of disagreement.
Divorce Mediation in New Jersey
Mediation is a process that involves two parties and a neutral, third-party mediator coming together to try and reach an agreement on certain contentious issues. Mediation is used in nearly every legal discipline, and it can be quite successful in getting parties to see where their arguments are strong, where they are weak, and to use that knowledge to reach a settlement that is acceptable to each.
In New Jersey divorce cases, mediators are used in a similar manner as above. Many times, they are used when a couple has reached an agreement regarding many issues related to their divorce, but a few challenging questions remain. When the couple is close to resolving their divorce settlement, allowing a neutral third-party to come in, examine the situation, and make recommendations about each party’s position related to they few missing items can help get the couple over the hump and onward to becoming a non-couple.
Mediation tends to be more successful when the parties involved already have some common ground regarding the overall structure of the divorce, are in agreement that divorce is the best decision, and when both want to resolve things amicably, to the extent possible. These situations allow the mediator to use reason with the spouses in extracting concessions to try and find a middle ground. Any settlement is a good settlement when neither party is completely happy with the outcome. Settlements require give and take, just like mediation.
If either party is unwilling to be reasonable or listen to the advice or suggestions of outside neutral individuals, mediation may not be successful. Likewise, if the parties have been unable to find any real common ground, a mediator may have a difficult time moving things forward from the basics, making mediation nearly impossible.
Finally, mediators cost money, whether a final settlement is reached or not. If one party simply views mediation as a waste of money, they are unlikely to engage in a reasonable or constructive manner, making mediation unnecessary.
Collaborative Divorce in New Jersey
One divorce method that is growing in popularity is collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce in New Jersey is conducted outside of the court setting and the parties work towards a resolution of issues with a third-party mediator, so it is similar to mediation in that regard. However, that is where the similarities end.
Advantages of Collaborative Divorce
With mediation, the parties have engaged their own individual attorneys, who have staked out their clients positions on certain matters and attempted to work towards a settlement. Once the sides feel that no more progress is being made, a mediator is introduced to try and pull the parties the last few feet to a complete settlement.
With collaborative divorce, the parties start out working together instead of only coming together at a later date. The collaborative divorce professionals work to ensure that an environment for respectful communication between the parties is present and from there work to put together a settlement framework that advances and respects the interests of each party.
Collaborative divorce professionals are not only attorneys. A collaborative divorce team can include:
- Certified Financial Planners
- Certified Public Accountants
- Mental Health Professionals
- Child specialists
- Divorce coaches
This diverse group of individuals can help a divorcing couple work through its issues and emerge from the process with an agreement that benefits each individual. Having access to so many individuals can also provide insight into a divorcing couples’ situation that can make them stronger co-parents in the future if children are involved.
Collaborative divorce is not for everyone. It requires a couple that is in agreement regarding the decision to divorce, and some shared opinions regarding children, finances, and visitation. With some agreement, collaborative divorce can be incredibly successful and stress-free.
Choosing Mediation or Collaborative Divorce in New Jersey
Collaborative divorce requires the involvement of individuals and attorneys trained in the process of collaborative divorce. If the process fails, the spouses will need to engage new, separate counsel to guide them through a more confrontational divorce. You should closely examine collaborative divorce and feel comfortable that it will fit your situation before you decide to invest money in the process.
Mediation is available at any point in the divorce process. Individuals can seek the assistance of a mediator anywhere along the line, as many times as they wish. Indeed, in New Jersey, mediation is required before a divorce can proceed to a court hearing. However, if the mediation is not successful, the parties can continue onward towards trial without any need to engage separate counsel.
Contact a Verona Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Collaborative Divorce in New Jersey Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Nitti & Nitti Attorneys at Law represent clients throughout the state, including Caldwell, Millburn, Maplewood, and South Orange. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.