Divorce Mediation In New Jersey
Most divorces in New Jersey are settled without resort to trial. The reason for the high percentage of pretrial divorce settlements is that litigation is costly both financially and emotionally. The New Jersey family court system recognizes this fact and provides a mechanism for divorcing spouses to attempt to negotiate a divorce agreement. The Early Settlement Panel (ESP) is a mandatory part of the divorce process in New Jersey in which two experienced family law attorneys hear each spouse’s arguments and make recommendations about how to compromise on financial issues. Two other important types of settlement tools include divorce mediation and arbitration.
How Morris, Downing & Sherred Can Help
At the law offices of Morris, Downing & Sherred, our family law attorneys serve as panelist on the Early Settlement Panel. As part of our commitment to helping our clients resolve their divorces without the need for a trial, we also offer services in the areas of divorce mediation. We serve clients throughout northern New Jersey, including Morris County, Sussex County and Warren County.
Divorce Mediation: What Is It
Divorce mediation is different from the ESP. Divorce mediation can address all issues in a divorce, including child custody and visitation, whereas the ESP only addresses financial disputes. In divorce mediation, the spouses choose a private mediator who will work outside of the judicial system to help the spouses find acceptable compromises.
These direct negotiations between the parties and the mediator limit reliance on courts and the adversarial process. A mediator can, with the cooperation of the parties, conduct the same discovery (investigation of relevant facts concerning assets, etc.) that would be revealed during litigation. Each party should still have his or her own attorney to provide counseling and advice, prepare pleadings and other court documents, and appear in court for the final hearing. Mediation can be far more amicable and less expensive than litigation, which is a particular benefit when there are children. However, if one party has a domestic violence restraining order against the other, or one party is overly dominant, mediation is not generally appropriate.
Divorce Arbitration: What Is It?
In divorce arbitration, the parties present evidence before a mutually chosen arbitrator who acts like a private judge. The arbitration process is much like a trial except it is more informal and is held in an office rather than a court. However, like a judge, the arbitrator decides the issues. If the arbitration is binding, the decision cannot be appealed to a court except on the most limited grounds. Arbitration requires that counsel represent the parties, but the time involved is likely to be much less than is required for a court trial.
Get More Information About Divorce Mediation
At Morris, Downing & Sherred, we offer all new potential divorce clients a complimentary initial consultation. You can meet with our attorneys and get preliminary advice about your various options for proceeding with your divorce, including mediation and arbitration.
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Contact Morris, Downing & Sherred Today
You do not have to go through the divorce mediation or arbitration process on your own. Whatever unique challenges you face, we are ready to help you. Contact our Newton offices or call us at 973-383-2700 today to schedule a confidential consultation and learn more.