Either before or during your divorce, you may have thought about taking advantage of alternative dispute resolution methods such as divorce mediation, but wonder if your case is a good fit for such alternatives. The simple truth is that any case that involves two willing parties is a good case for mediation, regardless of the stage of litigation or the complexity of the issues.
If you can answer three simple questions in the affirmative, then divorce or family law mediation may be a good option for you and your spouse. First, are you and your spouse willing to attend and participate in mediation with a trained family law mediator? Second, do you and your spouse prefer to make your own decisions rather than turning over control of your case to a third party such as a judge? Third, are you and your spouse willing to negotiate in good faith and with an open mind? If so, mediation can and often will produce a more manageable and reasonable result.
The benefits of mediation over litigation are many, and they are obvious. First, you can prioritize what is important to you and focus the discussion on those issues. Second, you can schedule meetings at times that work for you and your families, not subject to the strict limitations of the court calendar. Third, you can control costs. Mediation can limit expenditures on discovery, court time, and multiplication of lawyers. Fourth, your result is more likely to “stick”. Studies show that mediated agreements are more likely to be followed. No one likes being told what to do, so a mediated result is often considered more “fair.” Fifth, you can maintain privacy and confidentiality. Courts are open to the public and most court filings are likewise considered “public”. Mediation is strictly confidential.
If these benefits seem attractive to you, explore the possibility of mediating. You might just save yourself a lot of time and aggravation.
Drew Molotsky, Esq. is a Rule 1:40 Qualified Mediator for the State of New Jersey. He is also a Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Attorney.