Over the past two decades, more couples have turned toward mediation to draft their divorce agreements. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution that takes civil litigation out of the courtroom and places it in the hands of the disputing parties.
Mediation offers those seeking a divorce many benefits not found in a courtroom. Mediation may not work for every couple. Spouses who can communicate and compromise will find greater success.
Mediation provides lasting benefits
A couple must first get permission from a judge to use mediation. Judges usually grant these requests because this shows a willingness to compromise. Mediation can provide the couple with the following benefits:
- The couple’s choice of mediator: When a judge rules for mediation, the couple can choose their mediator. Mediators do not issue rulings or assign fault during negotiations. Instead, they emphasize communication and collaboration to guide the discussion toward a compromise. Professionals can teach co-parents skills in listening and empathy, which can help them work together on co-parenting.
- Confidential negotiations: With courtroom litigation, a stenographer records everything said during negotiations. Conversations and outbursts alike become a matter of public record, usable by attorneys in future disputes. Mediated proceedings are entirely confidential.
- Flexibility in time and location: Without requiring a courtroom, mediation can occur at any neutral location at a time convenient for each spouse. Couples using mediation will not have to compete with other civil cases for space in a courtroom schedule, delaying negotiations for months.
- Reduced fees and rates: With mediation, a couple pays much less for their divorce. The court will not charge fees for the courtroom or its personnel. Attorneys often charge reduced rates when working with mediation and several courts may pay for the mediator.
- Greater satisfaction with results: Couples who mediate their divorce negotiations express high satisfaction with their outcome. Couples design mediated agreements together — neither party will agree to anything they find unacceptable. In litigation, a judge assigns fault, dictates terms and issues their ruling, regardless of one party’s dissatisfaction.
Spouses considering mediation can reach out to an attorney
Couples can learn more about mediation by reaching out to a local lawyer familiar with New Jersey divorce law. An attorney can recommend professional mediators, work with the courts and draft a comprehensive negotiation that satisfies all parties.