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Taking Control Through Divorce Mediation

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Control Your Future through Divorce Mediation

Divorce feels like you have lost total control because the divorce process and your future are unknown.  Mediation helps reduce the loss of control.  A good mediator will guide you through the process and give you options.  However, mediation may not be proper in every case.  A good mediator should be able to determine whether divorce mediation is appropriate.

How does Divorce Mediation give you Control?

You take control of the solutions.  If your case goes to trial, a judge will be making the decisions on your case.  Generally, judges will try their best to wrap up all the issues.  A judge’s decision will be based on making it difficult for the parties to come back to court.    For example, a judge may decide that the parties are required to sell or buy the other spouse out of the marital residence.  In mediation, parties may agree to allow more time for the sale such as when the children graduate from high school.  Or, the parties may decide to live in the marital residence for some extended amount of time after the divorce.

You take control of your finances.  From the onset of the divorce mediation, the parties have made a decision to spend money wisely, that is, on the their family rather than litigation.  On average, divorce mediation may cost $3,000.00-$5,000.00 depending on how quickly the parties settle.  On the other hand, litigation requires two attorneys with an average cost of $5,000.00-$10,0000.00 for each attorney.  Divorce Mediation provides the spouses with options of how to equitably distribute their hard earned assets  or dividing debt.  You will have the ability to structure the distribution of the debt or asset.  Instead of having a judge make a decision on the financial distribution, you could have an expert such as a financial advisor and or accountant to give you the best distribution option.

These are just a few good reasons to mediate your divorce.  Click here to learn more about Divorce Mediation and all of its advantages.

 

COMPREHENSIVE LOOK AT A PARENTING PLAN

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A parenting plan is undoubtedly one of the most emotional parts of working toward a full Marital Settlement Agreement. Many parents may fear that their time will be unfairly restricted. Knowing what to expect before beginning to develop a plan will ease stress and help lead to a fair agreement that is in the best interest of the children and fair to each parent.

TYPE OF CUSTODY AND REASON FOR SELECTION

parenting planThe first major decision to be made when entering into a parenting plan is the type of custody. Naturally, most parents would like as much time as possible with their children while still ensuring they have liberal access to the other parent. Types of custody include: sole legal and physical custody, joint legal and physical custody, joint legal custody with one parent designated the Parent of Primary Residence (PPR) and the other the Parent of Alternative Residence (PAR).

Before discussing this with your spouse or attorney it is wise to take some time to gather your thoughts and set your expectations. What is the current parenting situation? Has one parent been the primary caregiver? How will your schedule (and your spouse’s) change after the divorce? What are the children’s expectations?

Once you have answered these types of questions, set real expectations. For example, if both parents have been equally involved in parenting thus far, joint legal and physical custody is a likely outcome. Give yourself an idea of what you are willing to compromise on. When you feel ready, discuss your expectations with your spouse and mediator or attorney. You and your spouse may be on the same page, and if not your divorce mediator or attorney will guide you through the process of settlement.

RESIDENTIAL SCHEDULE, HOLIDAYS, AND VACATIONS parenting time schedule

This schedule is necessary to determine where the children will reside each day of the year, what contact they will have with each parent, and how the pick up and drop off will work. A typical residential schedule will set forth the parenting time of the PAR, which may include alternate weekends and weekly dinner visits. It is important to agree upon exact start and end times for the parenting time in the plan; however, these times can be changed upon verbal or written agreement of both parents. In the event that one parent is not adhering to the agreement, the executed parenting plan will be followed.

Other issues to be addressed include school and social events, activities, camps, sporting and extracurricular events, transportation, and delays in pick up and drop off. In this section you may also address the use of childcare and babysitters during the custodial parenting time and how to proceed with introducing the child to a serious significant other.

Regardless of the custody arrangement, children should have liberal access to both parents via telephone or video calls when appropriate. Decide upon what time and how often calls may be allowed.

HOLIDAYS

The comprehensive parenting plan will also set forth the detailed schedule for Holidays. Each parent will have odd or even years to spend with the child for each holiday, school break, and the child’s birthday. This can be negotiated with your spouse if you wish to have parenting time every year on a certain holiday. Holidays must be defined with start and end times; for instance, Christmas Eve may be defined as 4pm to noon on Christmas day. Make sure to tell your mediator or attorney about all the holidays you celebrate.

VACATIONS

The parenting plan will usually discuss the vacation time each parent is entitled to. The allotted vacation time is personal to each parent. The parenting plan will lay out details such as informing one another of itineraries, phone contact, and obtaining the child’s passport. With the consent of both parties’ additional vacation time may be taken even after the agreement is in effect.

MEDICAL AND SCHOOL RECORDS

Unless otherwise agreed upon, the parenting plan will entitle both parents to all medical and school information. This includes any information, documents, and communication from the child’s pediatrician, general physician, dentist, specialist, counselor, consultant attending the child, or reports or communication from any teacher or school giving instruction to the child.

DECISION MAKING

parenting time This is usually broken down into two categories: day-to-day and major decisions. It is highly likely that your parenting plan will give the authority of day-to-day decisions to the parent with whom the child is residing that day. Major decisions such as those involving health, education, religion, and other important matters will almost always require consulting with one another in a joint custody arrangement, regardless of whether one parent has been given the right to make the final decision if an agreement cannot be made. The procedure for emergency decisions should also be discussed to minimize future conflict.

Familiarizing yourself with what a parenting plan entails will help you move through the divorce mediation or litigation journey with less stress. Children are the most important part of any divorce and their best interests should always be put first.

PREPARING FOR DIVORCE MEDIATION

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Once you have found the appropriate divorce mediator NJ for your case, the next step is to make sure you are prepared to begin sessions. It is likely that time and energy has gone into choosing an effective mediator who you and your spouse are comfortable with and expect to be prepared and attentive. Spending your own time preparing for divorce mediation is equally as necessary for success.

KNOW THE PROCESS 

To begin preparing for divorce mediation start with the basics. Your divorce mediator NJ should explain how things will work during your initial consultation, but if you still feel uneasy spend some time researching what to expect. You should familiarize yourself with the process, including the stages of mediation, confidentiality, the role the mediator will play, and the role you and your spouse will play.

Even if your mediator has satisfied all of your concerns and offered thorough explanations, doing your own research is always beneficial and will calm your nerves when it is time for the first session. There are many resources available on the internet such as mediate.com, divorce mediation blogs and articles. If you are unsure of the authenticity of the information you are reading don’t hesitate to run it by your divorce mediator NJ. 

GET ORGANIZED 

divorce mediationMaking a list of the issues, topics, and goals you have for mediation can mean less stress, better outcomes, and less time and money. Import this list to a spreadsheet and gather relevant information regarding all of the issues on the list. This may include bank and credit card statements, insurance information, recurring bills and documentation regarding children such as current schedules, extracurricular activities and their costs, current or future college expenses, and notes on future plans. This should even be done for issues that are more relevant to the other party.

Once all of your concerns are well organized, develop a range of acceptable outcomes for your agreement. Continue preparing for divorce mediation by making notes of your thoughts, ideas and concerns as they come to you; carry a small notepad with you or use your phone to make sure you don’t miss anything. 

GET OUTSIDE ADVICE  

If your case is complex, you have doubts about the other party’s intentions or you simply want reassurance, it is a good idea to seek the advice of an independent attorney. The attorney will offer you an outside perspective and other ideas you may not have previously considered. Unlike the divorce mediator NJ, this attorney will have only your best interest in mind and will make sure you are confident and ready for mediation and ensure that the final agreement is fair to you. Go over the acceptable outcomes you have previously drafted with your attorney to make sure they are all appropriate and realistic. 

divorce mediation

Seeking advice from other outside professionals and parties will also help you prepare for mediation. For instance, an accountant or appraiser can help you have a firm grasp of your assets and financial situation, while family and friends can help you keep realistic expectations. Reaching out to family or friends who may have used mediation in the past is great way of preparing for divorce mediation. 

PREPARE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY 

Having energy and peace of mind will translate to a productive mediation session. Take simple steps like getting a full night’s sleep, eating well and taking a break from stressful tasks. Try to rearrange your schedule as much as possible on the day of the divorce mediation session; postponing appointments, meetings or other demanding activities will allow you to reduce stress before mediation and use the time after to reflect on the outcomes of the session. As mediation can be unpredictable, and range from one hour to several, keeping the day as open as possible will keep you focused and not rushing to attend to prior commitments.

PARENTAL COLLEGE CONTRIBUTION IN NJ

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NJ child support collegeTypically New Jersey requires divorced parents to contribute to their children’s college expenses. In the past, college was considered a privilege reserved only for the wealthy and elite; however, as it has become more accessible to everyone, the question of expense must be considered by parents. With a wider variety of higher education, such as county, community, state, and private colleges, as well as vocational schools, it is easier for families of all budgets to find a tuition that fits their financial situation.

In the ground-breaking case Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982) the NJ Supreme Court addressed the issue of parental obligation in these situations. The court found that generally parents who are financially capable should aid their qualifying children in educational expenses, whether this be by paying all or part of the cost. In some cases, this responsibility can even include post-graduate education.

The decision also set forth a list of relevant factors courts should consider when evaluating a claim for contribution, including:

1. whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs of the requested higher education;

2. the effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education;

3. the amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education;
4. the ability of the parent to pay that cost;

5. the relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;

6. the financial resources of both parents;

7. the commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education;

8. the financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust;

9. the ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation;

10. the availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans;

11. the child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and

12. the relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long-range goals of the child.

It is best for divorced parents in New Jersey to address college expenses as they would if they were still married, and expect joint responsibility. Parents should also be sure not to overlook college obligation when drafting the property settlement agreement. Even individuals with young children should take this into account; the agreement may be modified in the future, but adding this language in the initial agreement may save both parties from further disputes and legal fees.

If an agreement cannot be made between the parties directly or via divorce mediation, the discovery process will begin and attorneys will exchange relevant financial information on their clients including tax returns, W-2s, assets, and Case Information Statements. If attorneys cannot come to an appropriate agreement, the court will schedule a hearing in which the judge will take the discovery into account and determine each parent’s contribution, as well as address any additional child support modifications.

If you currently have a property settlement agreement that does not mention your child’s college tuition, a court will likely require some sort of contribution; however, it is still important to consult with a NJ family law attorney and consider whether modification to add the provision is appropriate in your case.

While some parents may believe that their child will be considered emancipated when they turn 18, this is not always the case. Emancipation usually only becomes an issue when a parent paying child support believes they should no longer be required to make payments. New Jersey does not have a fixed age for the termination of support; therefore, when the obligee-parent does not agree that payments should stop, the obligor must filed a motion seeking the emancipation of the child and termination of support.

NJ parental college contributionAn emancipated child is released from the control and support of a parent, as they have become financially independent. This age will be determined by the court unless an existing property settlement agreement has defined an age of majority; however, even this does not entirely release parents from the college contribution obligation – only a court may make a final decision on parents’ responsibilities in this matter.

There are instances in which contribution is not considered appropriate, such as if a child’s relationship to the parent is essentially non-existent despite the parent’s attempt to maintain it. These situations will be decided by the court on a case-by-case basis, so it is crucial to work with an experienced NJ family law attorney.

 

SAME-SEX DIVORCE MEDIATION IN NEW JERSEY

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The changing political landscape surrounding the rights of same-sex couples has led to difficulty for many simply wishing to commit to a marriage, or for that matter dissolve one. Fortunately, same-sex marriage in New Jersey was legalized in October 2013 allowing many long-term partners and couples already in a civil union to have the same rights as heterosexual married couples.

While this was a joyous victory for many in the state, it also opened up a multitude of legal questions concerning factors such as equitable distribution, alimony, and child custody, should a couple be seeking divorce. While these issues are identical to those seen in heterosexual divorce, tackling them for same-sex couples in New Jersey is more complex due to evolving laws. This can be especially difficult for couples who were in a committed relationship for many years before having the chance to enter a civil union pursuant to N.J.S.A. 37:1-28 to -36, the New Jersey Civil Union act (enacted in 2007) or marriage. Years of accrued assets and property and children of the relationship were not viewed by the law as they would be for married partners.

same-sex divorce mediation

Many same-sex couples who were in long-term committed relationships wanted to marry but were unable to do so until 2013. A majority of assets would have been accrued during the time before the marriage period, but under the law only those gained after the marriage in 2013 would be considered marital assets for equitable distribution. However, this does not mean that the appropriate divorce relief cannot be granted, only that the court process will likely be more challenging as many judges are not yet fully accustomed to handling same-sex divorce. The same applies to couples still in civil unions seeking dissolution.

BENEFITS OF DIVORCE MEDIATION FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES

Due to the complexity and newness of same-sex divorce, alternative approaches like mediation are highly beneficial. Mediation allows couples to work through their issues to reach a fair compromise without the stress of litigated divorce. Hour long sessions are conducted with a New Jersey mediation attorney, and if needed a third party professional such as a financial planner or psychologist. If a couple is able to work together and communicate effectively, the cost of mediation will drop as the amount of sessions needed decreases.

Same-sex divorce mediation allows couples to bypass the uncertainly of evolving laws and set their own terms. It can also be beneficial for children as it usually translates to parents with better communication skills who are more focused on problem solving than finger pointing.

Although same-sex divorce mediation is not right for everyone, for those who are open to working together it can be the least stress producing and most cost effective option.

NAME CHANGE IN NJ

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Deciding whether to keep a married name or re-assume a maiden name is a common dilemma among women going through and after divorce.  The New Jersey Final Judgment of Divorce gives both the husband and wife the chance to legally change his or her name to one used before marriage, or any other last name.  This also applies to same sex couples in which one partner assumed the name of the other in marriage or civil union.  Unlike divorce, a legal separation known as “divorce from bed and board” or “limited divorce” does not satisfy the requirement of the name change statute.

New Jersey Statute 2A:34-21 states that “the court, upon or after granting a divorce from the bonds of matrimony to either spouse or dissolution of a civil union to either partner in a civil union couple, may allow either spouse or partner in a civil union couple to resume any name used by the spouse or partner in a civil union couple before the marriage or civil union, or to assume any surname.”

Before granting a request for name change in NJ during divorce proceedings, the court usually requires that the party state under oath:

(1)   that the request is not intended for any New Jersey Name Changefraudulent purpose;

(2) if he/she was ever convicted of a crime and if so, the nature and sentence imposed; and

(3) whether any criminal charges are pending.

Although these requests are usually granted, an applicant who has a pending bankruptcy action in NJ will generally be denied.

In addition to the use of a previously used name, the statute also grants permission for the spouse to assume any surname, even if never previously used before the marriage or civil union.  If the name was never used, the spouse may be required to comply with the notice provisions of the general name change in NJ statute, 2A:34-21, which requires a detailed sworn affidavit.

The initial divorce pleadings should include the request for name change; however, it is still possible to resume a maiden/previous name after a finalized divorce.  A post-judgment motion will be used for this purpose.

If a spouse is also interested in changing a child’s name, the statute for name change in NJ permits minor children to legally change surnames; however, the process is much more complex than spousal name change.  A formal name change case must be filed in civil court that identifies the other parent, his or her residence, and the parents raising the child. The case will then be transferred to the family court. An experienced NJ family law attorney can guide the parent through this process.

New Jersey Divorce Name Change

The official seal on the judgment of divorce legally authorizes a spouse to change his or her name on all legal documents such as a driver’s license, social security card, and birth certificate.  Once these documents are changed, any relevant government agencies, financial institutions, and businesses should be notified.  Some other institutions to be notified include schools, children’s schools, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Records or Vital Statistics, passport office, post office, Social Security Administration, insurance agencies, and phone and utility companies.  It can be helpful to notify all family, friends, and neighbors of the new name to spread the word. Only the new name should be used by the individual in both work and social settings. Wills or living wills, power of attorney, and all contracts should also be amended to include the new legal name to avoid future confusion.

Whether requesting a name change post-divorce or as part of divorce pleadings, it is crucial to have the services of a competent NJ family law attorney.

USING MEDIATION AFTER DIVORCE

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Mediation is not only for divorcing couples.  Mediation maybe used at anytime a dispute arrises.  After divorce, a change in one spouses employment, change in health, relocating are just a few examples of issues that may be addressed in mediation.  Choosing mediation over litigation  is often highly beneficial to maintaining amicable relations.

Property Settlement Agreementdivorce mediator Edison NJ

Mediation is especially helpful in modifying a property settlement agreement after divorce. If there is disagreement any time after the agreement is signed, a mediator can guide the parties in coming to a fair compromise.

Alimony is usually a major issue addressed in the property settlement agreement and can be modified if certain circumstances change. Changes in employment and income commonly call for payments to be adjusted. Seeing a mediation attorney to draft these changes can save parties significant time, money, and stress.

Child Custody

If a property settlement agreement was previously signed by parents it is likely to contain a child custody agreement. Whether mediation or litigation was used in the divorce, ex-spouses who co-parent may find it helpful to use mediation to modify the child custody agreement as their child grows and family dynamics change. While many co-parents, especially those who have used divorce mediation, have an amicable and effective parenting relationship, seeing a divorce mediator Edison NJ or surrounding areas when circumstances change can aid in keeping the situation peaceful.

As a child grows their needs and interests will change, which means previous child custody agreements may not hold as much relevance. Instances in which a parent relocated may also find child custody mediation effective. Using mediation in these cases does not weaken the family unit as might litigation, but rather it acts as an aid in continuing the amicable and reduced stress environment that both parents have worked hard to achieve.

While divorced couples are usually equipped to handle conflict, mediation should be kept in mind as an alternative solution.  Certain complex issues, especially those involving children, will benefit from the help of an effective mediation attorney.

Contact us today to set up an appointment for you and your spouse.  Armour Law Firm for your divorce mediator Edison NJ and surrounding areas.

5 TOP REASONS TO MEDIATE DIVORCE

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Divorce mediation is an increasingly popular method that allows couples to have more control over the issues in their divorce. During mediation sessions both parties, a mediation attorney, and, if necessary, third party professionals, will focus on coming to a settlement that is fair and appropriate. While mediation is not for every couple, there are some major benefits and reasons to mediate divorce that make it worth considering.

armour law firm divorce mediation

1) Flexible and Informal

The mediation process does not include the court, and instead a divorce mediator helps guide the parties through creating their own property settlement agreement, parenting plan, or any other necessary agreement. The absence of traditional divorce litigation allows mediation sessions to be flexible and informal. Sessions are scheduled at mutually convenient times allowing both parties to use their time effectively and work around one another’s obligations. Because the mediation environment is conducive to open communication and confidentiality, there is more room for creative and personalized solutions.

2) Relationships

Although divorce eliminates the marital relationship, it can be necessary for ex-spouses to keep in contact, especially when children are involved. Divorce mediation allows parties to lay the foundation for their new relationship as it focuses on developing communication, trust, problem-solving, and compromise. A 12 year divorce mediation study by Dr. Robert E. Emery found that couples who used mediation had better relationships with each other and their children than those who used litigation.

3) Stress

While stress is an inevitable part of divorce, mediation can help reduce it. Litigation is adversarial while mediation is collaborative. The thought of court involvement alone can cause additional stress for many people, so replacing it with the face-to-face contact and discussion of mediation can be highly beneficial. Having more direct involvement in sensitive issues such as parenting plans can also greatly reduce stress.

4) Cost

One of the more obvious reasons to mediate divorce mediation is its financial cost, which is generally much less than divorce litigation. Attorney and court fees can add up quickly, especially in contested divorce, but in mediation the focus is on working together, which includes collaborating to ensure modest cost. Cost can be greatly reduced by effectively using each session and shortening the length of the whole process.

5) Control

Since divorce mediation is a voluntary process it allows both parties to feel more in control of their financial and family lives. Unlike divorce litigation, mediation involves only one attorney who cannot give either party individual legal advice. Couples begin mediation with an agreement to be open and not withhold any relevant information. The intention is to solve issues without court intervention. This helps establish trust and comfort during sessions, which leads to a greater sense of control. Children may also feel more empowered knowing their parents are involved in a collaborative process and willing to compromise.

Divorce Mediation and Children

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Divorce Mediation and Children

One of the main concerns of parents going through or contemplating divorce is the affect it will have on their children. While it is commonly thought that this will be solely negative, the impact greatly depends on how the conflict is handled and how well the spouses are able to communicate as parents. Divorce mediation and children may involve custody and or child support mediation are increasingly popular alternatives to litigation because focus is put on open communication and compromise.

Mediation vs. Litigation

A 12 year study conducted by Dr. Robert E. Emerydivorce mediation andchildren – whose research focuses on family relationships and children’s mental health – found that divorce mediation had a positive impact on family relations. Couples were randomly assigned with litigation or mediation, making it clear that the outcomes were linked to the method of divorce. Mediation lasted an average of only five hours, was problem focused, and sensitive to emotions.

After 12 years only 9% of the nonresidential parents who litigated saw their children weekly compared to 28% of those who mediated. Telephone contact was also more prevalent among the nonresidential mediation group with 52% of parents speaking to their children weekly compared to 14% of those who used litigated divorce.

In addition, residential parents saw nonresidential parents more positively, giving them better “grades” in all areas of parenting from running errands to discussing problems.

Collaborative and Non-Adversarial

Being that mediation is a collaborative process both parents actively participate in developing a healthy and fair parenting plan. Working together closely during mediation sessions allows parents to come to a mutual agreement on each specific issue. This can include weekly schedules as well as schedules for holidays, birthdays, vacations, and other special occasions.

Mediation helps avoid the adversarial process that comes with litigation and the flexibility in communication makes it easier to include children in decision making. Instead of worrying about parents battling in court, children may feel more open to share their feelings knowing they will be listened to by parents who are committed to problem solving together.

Contested divorce is inevitably full of conflict and easily leads to having children feel as if they are stuck in the middle, even when both parents have the children’s best interests in mind. Mediation gives parties a chance to work through issues without major conflict and learn to separate their personal interests from their children’s interests in the process.

Creating Effective Relationships

divorce mediation and children nj

One of the most beneficial ways divorce mediation affects children is the new relationship it helps parents develop with one another. Because parenting after divorce is a whole new dynamic it requires the development of new types of relationships – with both the ex-spouse and child. Spending energy on blaming one another for the failed marriage takes away from valuable effort that can be spent on nurturing these new relationships.

Mediation is a way to set aside blame and begin learning how to work together to effectively raise children. Mediation teaches parties to communicate effectively and develop new skills to create solutions for the future; these same problem solving and compromising skills are crucial to healthy parenting and stress reduction.

5 TOP REASONS NOT TO MEDIATE DIVORCE

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What to Consider Before Opting to Mediate Divorce

While divorce mediation has significant benefits, it is not appropriate for every situation. There are numerous factors that must be considered before deciding to mediate divorce or opt for traditional litigation. It is important that you and your spouse both understand what mediation is and that neither party is being pressured into it.

mediate divorce

Waste of Time and Money

While mediation can be economical and time saving in many instances, it is not always so. If both parties are willing to cooperate with the process the outcome will likely be positive; however, if one or both spouses do not intend to be honest and open to compromise, it is likely to fail. Failed mediation means that litigated divorce is the next step. Both spouses must find their own attorneys (the mediation attorney cannot represent either party) and pay attorney and court fees associated with a new divorce proceeding. Information revealed during mediation may not be used in court, which means the discovery process must generally begin from the beginning. In addition, both parties are left with the bill from mediation and a loss of time.

Emotion

The dynamics of one failing marriage are never identical to another. Couples who plan to mediate divorce must consider their current and past personal relationship, and each spouse must consider their own emotions. While one couple may be amicable, agree to one another’s wishes completely, and have a minimal amount of negative, resentful, or sentimental emotion surrounding the divorce, another couple may find themselves too emotionally involved and angry to sit together through hours of mediation. Gauging where your relationship falls between these two ends of the spectrum will help you and your partner decide if mediation is right for you.

Power Imbalance

If one spouse is more articulate, has all the financial resources, or abusive to the other it can surely be detrimental to the divorce mediation process. For instance, in a marriage with a history of domestic violence mediation is likely not an appropriate choice as the victim may feel pressured or intimidated during sessions. Spouses who are victims, have fewer resources, or are inarticulate will usually have a more difficult time asserting themselves during mediation.

Court Procedure

The formality of the court in litigated divorce can be beneficial when it comes to power imbalances, truth, fairness, and evidence. Attorneys are able to use the court to have witnesses testify or produce evidence, while mediators cannot force the truth to be given by all parties. Court procedures also help ensure that both parties are treated fairly, whereas mediation is less able to help protect a party from an aggressive or intimidating spouse. This can play a crucial role in making sure the less aggressive spouse does not unfairly settle and lose what is rightfully theirs.

No Legal Advice

Even if a mediator is an attorney, they are not allowed to provide either side with legal advice. They are to act as a neutral party and are unable to speak to the parties about the divorce outside of mediation sessions.

Choosing to mediate divorce is a great alternative to litigation but it is not recommended in all cases.  Deciding whether to mediate or litigate may be decided early on, as early as the contemplation of divorce.  On the other hand, you may decide to mediate at any time during the litigation process. For instance, once a complaint is filed both parties could inform their attorneys that they wish to mediate.  Their attorneys could be present at the mediation sessions or they may mediate without attorneys. This option allows for the parties the benefit of being provided with legal advise during the mediation process through their individual attorneys.

Each case is significantly unique and an experienced mediator can help determine if mediation is appropriate.  At Armour Law Firm we recognize the importance of serving these diverse needs and provide mediation, collaborative divorce and  traditional litigated divorce services.