In New Jersey, divorce mediation takes place over a series of meetings between the spouses and a neutral mediator. The meetings can take place at the mediator’s office or virtually. The spouses can choose to have their attorneys present at the mediation, but it is not necessary.
No. Mediation is not required in order to finalize a divorce. Spouses elect to go through the mediation process in order to avoid going to court and in the hopes of having more control over the final terms of their divorce.
The divorcing spouses should come to the mediation with an outline of things the spouses would like to see in the final Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU")- things like child custody, spousal support and division of assets. During our initial meeting we will provide you with a list of the items that we will address in order to finalize the divorce.
The process usually involves meeting with the mediator 1-2 times/ week for hourly sessions. The spouses can also meet weekly or bi-monthly. The length of the process varies depending upon how long it takes the spouses to decide on the key issues such as child custody and division of assets.
The cost varies, but the divorcing spouses will pay the mediator an hourly fee. The final cost will depend on how many hours the parties meet and how many hours the mediator spends preparing for the mediation. Other factors include the issues that come up and whether any conflicts arise. Overall, mediation is much faster and less costly than litigation.
It is up to the two parties to decide who will pay for private divorce mediation sessions. Couples can choose to split the cost evenly, or some couples may split it based on their respective income.
It is up to the spouses to hire a lawyer for the mediation. However, lawyers are not required, or recommended, to be present or involved in divorce mediation sessions. Mediation is meant to allow the spouses an opportunity to make decisions for themselves. If one spouse wants to bring a lawyer, it is recommended that the other spouse do the same. It is recommended that each party hire a lawyer to review the Memorandum of Understanding once the parties reach an agreement.
During divorce mediations, couples work together with a mediator to come to a legally binding agreement resolving the issues that would need to be decided on in a divorce. These include but are not limited to:
Yes. The divorce agreement which is memorialized as a Memorandum of Understanding will be binding and enforceable.
Yes, If circumstances change after a divorce has been finalized and the parties want to change the agreement, they can modify the agreement in court. If both parties agree on the changes, it can be a simple process. Post-divorce mediation is also an option for couples who want to modify the decisions made in their original divorce.
Yes. Spouses can choose to mediate at any time during the litigation. However, because judges must abide by specific timelines, you should consult with your divorce attorneys about how the schedule will affect mediation.