Mediation is a cooperative process in which an impartial third party meets with all parties, with or without their attorneys, to assist them in reaching a mutual and informed agreement for the terms of their separation, divorce, custody, parenting time or post-judgment dispute. Mediation is confidential, meaning that should court intervention ever become necessary, neither party nor their counsel may make known to a court the information revealed or negotiations that took place in mediation.
The mediation process unique in that it is a legal event yet is sensitive to each individual’s emotional needs. Therefore, it provides a safe setting for parties to communicate their needs and interests with each other while focusing on principled problem solving such as fairness, self-determination and what is in the best interest of all family members.
Mediation significantly differs from the traditional divorce process. In the traditional divorce, parties rely on lawyers to define their needs and expectations based on the lawyers’ understanding and application of the law to the facts of the parties’ individual case. Even without going to trial, the traditional divorce process is inherently adversarial, with both parties assuming positions and strategies advocated by their lawyers.
Mediation is an informal process, outside of the courtroom, in which the parties are in control and empowered to make their own decisions. As a result, the mediator and the parties are able to explore creative options independent of legal parameters. Mediation seeks and generally accomplishes to reduce the hostility, tension and trauma of any family related issues. In addition, because the parties are not at the mercy of the court calendar, issues are addressed much more quickly and efficiently, which further serves to minimize legal expense.
Mediation does not require each spouse to view the other as an adversary. Instead, the mediator helps the couple work together to find the best way to separate and move forward. That said, couples can mediate even if they unable to talk to each other, are uncomfortable sitting in the same room or are unable to recognize the other’s spouse’s perspective. Couples may sit separately and the mediator can move between rooms.
Through mediation, couples are encouraged to avoid getting stuck on the past. Instead, parties are encouraged to focus on a resolution for themselves and their children with which they can be comfortable. A qualified mediator will help them to recognize that they do not need to understand or agree to with the other spouse’s reasons for reaching a resolution in order to reach that resolution. However, it is typical of mediation with a qualified mediator, that couples do shift into a productive way of communicating and problem solving, which serves the family well in the future.
At Donahue, Hagan, Klein & Weisberg, LLC, our team of family law attorneys has extensive, wide-ranging experience with Divorce Mediation. All of our lawyers assist our clients in the mediation process. In addition, three distinguished partners in our firm, Phyllis S. Klein, Esq., Stephanie F. Hagan, Esq., and Debra S. Weisberg, Esq. are New Jersey Superior Court-approved family mediators who receive many court appointments, are often selected by clients choosing to enter private mediation, and receive many mediation referrals from other lawyers.
Across our practice dedicated exclusively to New Jersey family law, we consistently emphasize just resolution of matters outside the courtroom whenever possible. As mediators, we are committed to assisting parties in reaching practical, effective and lasting settlements.
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