Arbitration and Mediation in New Jersey Divorce

Experienced attorneys guide clients through alternative dispute resolution processes

Many divorcing couples seek streamlined alternatives to time-consuming divorce litigation. Mediation is generally the best way to resolve a divorce pre- and post-Covid.  Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Courts in New Jersey have been physically closed to the public and handle cases on Zoom.  The Courts which already had crowded calendars, are more inundated due to the new system resulting in slower processes and backlogs that could last long after normal operations resume. Fortunately, there are alternatives that enable you to save time and money. At Helfand & Associates, our divorce lawyers offer mediation services. In fact, firm principal Tanya Helfand is a court-appointed mediator with extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). If you want to shorten the time your divorce takes, while saving money and sparing yourself frustration, we’re ready to help.  It’s the smart way to get divorced.

How is arbitration different from mediation in New Jersey?

Both arbitration and mediation are methods of alternative dispute resolution. With these processes, you can resolve every issue of your divorce, including child custody, child support, alimony and the distribution of your marital property. Any matter you would hope to resolve in court can be done with Mediation or Arbitration.

Arbitration is essentially a private paid for court hearing. Each party presents their case to an independent third party, the arbitrator, who rules on the issues. Arbitration can be binding or nonbinding. In binding arbitration, parties agree to accept the arbitrator’s rulings. In nonbinding arbitration, parties retain their right to litigate disputes in court if one or both disagrees with the outcome. If both parties accept the arbitrator’s rulings, they present an agreement to the judge, who incorporates the terms into the divorce decree.

Mediation also employs a neutral third party, the mediator. But instead of acting as a judge, the mediator guides discussions between the parties toward a reasonable compromise. The mediator does not represent either party and does not give legal advice. Parties can work with their attorneys to prepare for mediation sessions, which cover topics they must settle. It is extremely effective for the parties to have their attorneys supporting them in the mediation.  It helps typically to expedite the process.  The goal is to arrive at a marital settlement agreement that can be submitted to the judge for approval, removing the need for litigation.  If you reach a complete agreement, you can get an uncontested divorce. If you only reach a partial agreement, you must litigate the outstanding issues either before the court or an arbitrator before obtaining a divorce decree.  

Advantages of mediation in a New Jersey divorce

Mediation is the process used most often in divorce. It presents numerous advantages:

  • Time — You work on your own schedule and are not constrained by the crowded court calendar, so the process moves more quickly.
  • Cost — You save on the cost of preparing for trial, or all elements of the litigation process, which can be substantial.
  • Stress — Mediations are less adversarial, people certainly are free to express themselves in mediation but it is a cooperative process.
  • Privacy — There is no public record, and your statements are confidential.
  • Control — You do not have to sign an agreement if you have any qualms about it.

We have the experience to guide you through a successful mediation, so you get every benefit from the process.  If you or your spouse wish to use Tanya Helfand as a Mediator, please set up a consultation together.  She also frequently serves as a party’s advocate/attorney and helps the individual negotiate from a strong position.

Contact a dedicated Morris County divorce attorney/mediator for a complimentary half hour consultation.

Helfand & Associates advises New Jersey divorcing spouses regarding the benefits of arbitration and mediation. Call (973) 428-0800 or contact us online to schedule a complimentary half hour consultation.  We appear regularly in counties throughout New Jersey – Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Union.