If you are considering divorce in New Jersey, there are a variety of ways that the issues between you and your spouse can be resolved depending on your needs, interests, and goals.
Many divorcing spouses are drawn to the divorce mediation process in an effort to avoid the high costs and acrimony often inherent in the court process. Divorce mediation is an out-of-court process in which divorcing spouses negotiate an acceptable divorce agreement with the help of a neutral third party — the mediator.
Divorce mediation works best for spouses who both want to preserve an amicable relationship between them for the sake of their children; have the ability to respectfully communicate with one another; and are both familiar with the incomes, assets, and debts of the marriage.
Ideally, the divorce mediator would use what is called a “facilitative” approach in helping the spouses resolve the difficult issues between them, including custody and parenting time of their children, calculation of child support and/or alimony, distribution of marital assets and debts, and college costs for their children.
This approach provides both spouses with the resources and tools to generate their own unique resolutions, as opposed to mediators who suggest a fixed range of outcomes depending on the mediator’s opinion of how a judge might rule if the matter went to trial. The advantage of divorce mediation, however, is that there is no court process, and the spouses therefore have the flexibility to be as creative as they choose to be with the help of a skilled facilitative divorce mediator.
What you may not know, however, is that it can often be even more effective to use separate mediators, each with a specialized skill set for the issues to be resolved. For instance, it can be much more effective, in terms of cost and outcome, for a neutral family therapist with expertise in child development to help divorcing parents consider the particular developmental needs of their children considering their ages.
Then, once the custody and parenting time issues have been resolved, an attorney mediator can step in and facilitate expeditious resolution of the remaining issues of child support, alimony, distribution of marital assets and debt, and payment of college costs for the children.
By the same token, if there is a closely held business to be valued for distribution and determination of income for alimony and child support, divorcing spouses might wish to consider engaging the services of a neutral financial accountant, who is also trained and skilled in mediation.
Alternatively, divorcing spouses can initially seek out a New Jersey divorce attorney who is trained and skilled in mediation who can act as mediator and help the spouses get the most “bang for the buck” by bringing in professionals as needed for a specific purpose, such as an accountant to value a business, and/or a financial professional to generate cash flow scenarios for each spouse to arrive at appropriate alimony figure that meets the needs of both of them after the divorce.
The key is to keep an open mind, remain flexible, and do as much legwork as possible to discover the option or combination of options that works best for you.
Please call me at (973) 292-9090 for more information or to schedule a consultation and plan a strategy that is best for you.