Mediation is a legal alternative to traditional courtroom litigation reserved primarily for civil cases. Over the past two decades, the use of mediation is on the rise, particularly in divorce cases.
Couples use mediation for their divorce because of its many benefits. Many couples report greater satisfaction with mediated resolutions.
Mediation can help build a relationship after divorce
Only an assigned judge can rule for mediation. Since successful mediation requires cooperation between spouses, a judge will send a civil case to mediation if both parties request it. Mediation offers several benefits to exes, especially co-parents:
- Spouses choose a mediator: Spouses do not get to choose their judge, but they can select their mediator. A lawyer familiar with local divorce cases can likely recommend a professional mediator. Mediators do not hand out rulings in negotiations but work on communication and cooperation. A good mediator guides the negotiations toward compromise and mutual benefits to draft an agreement that satisfies both spouses.
- Spouses choose a location: Courts do not require that mediation takes place in a courtroom. Spouses are free to choose a comfortable place that is convenient for all parties. Civil cases that rely on traditional litigation must wait for an opening in a court’s schedule, which can take weeks or months. Mediation occurs whenever it is convenient for the couple.
- More affordable: Traditional litigation requires the divorcing couple to pay considerable court fees for the time and the personnel. Mediation does not require either of these things and ends up far less expensive. Lawyers often charge lower rates for mediation, and a court may even cover the mediator’s fee.
- Mediation is confidential: Divorce proceedings are often emotional, and couples may say things they regret later. Since courtroom litigation is a matter of public record, a court stenographer records everything said. Future disputes may pull these transcripts up, rehashing these unfortunate utterances. Mediated proceedings are entirely confidential, eliminating this worry.
- Exes stick to the agreement: A mediator helps draft an agreement that satisfies both spouses, without assigning fault or administering punishments. Since both parties are happy with the terms of the deal, they take ownership of their part and stick to the expectations.
Legal counsel can help
Spouses with questions about mediation can find answers with a local attorney familiar with New Jersey divorce laws. A layer will help find a mediator, work with the judge and draft comprehensive divorce agreements.