New Jersey Mediators Answer Frequently Asked Questions
At Schenck Price, we give New Jersey spouses the chance to resolve differences over issues such as custody, alimony and property division through mediation. If you are considering using this method of alternative dispute resolution, we can answer questions such as:
- Do I still need a lawyer in divorce mediation?
- How does mediation differ from traditional divorce litigation?
- Do we all have to sit together?
- Is mediation confidential?
- How much does divorce mediation cost in New Jersey?
- Is divorce mediation appropriate in cases involving domestic violence or other abuse?
- How long does it take for divorce mediation?
- After mediation, how long does it take to get divorced?
- Will the mediator give me legal advice?
- If I use mediation, will I need to go to court?
You and your spouse can choose to have lawyers represent you in the mediation. We find mediation with lawyers actually saves money and time and helps to ensure fairness. The mediator cannot process the divorce and is not your advocate.
During traditional divorce litigation, spouses are in an adversarial system arguing over divorce terms in an effort to convince the judge, who makes the decision on their own. Mediation not only reduces the time and money associated with marriage dissolution but gives both parties a say in the result.
Mediation often works best when there is give and take between the parties, but there can be circumstances where the mediator goes back and forth to speak with each party in a separate room. This is not uncommon.
Yes, rather than hashing out personal issues relating to your marriage in open court, divorce mediation is private and usually conducted in an office. Nothing said in mediation can be used in court except a signed Agreement.
The amount you spend on mediation services depends on various factors, including the scope of differences between you and your spouse and the complexity of the divisible marital state. Some couples reach consensus in just a few sessions while others require a little more time. Either way, you can be confident that resolving divorce terms through mediation is typically much less expensive and quicker than litigation.
We cannot mediate if there is a final restraining order. Again, we can also work by Zoom or in separate rooms if parties are uncomfortable but do not have a restraining order.
It is hard to predict how much time needs to be spent in mediation in order to arrive at a mutually agreeable resolution. Courts in the state have been very slow to clear out the case backlog, so litigation could take two years or more. Even the most complicated mediations are usually completed in much less time.
Generally, uncontested New Jersey divorces can be wrapped up in two or three months. We assist with the preparation of a marital settlement agreement that can be incorporated into the court order.
The mediator’s job is not to provide legal advice. Each party can have their own counsel for that. However, a mediator who is highly knowledgeable about New Jersey family law might be able to forge a compromise by advising one or both parties that the position they are clinging to would not be well received in court.
Even if you come to an Agreement, most cases have an uncontested hearing in court. During COVID, sometimes it was “on the papers.” If a resolution cannot occur in mediation, the court process will proceed.