To obtain a divorce in New Jersey, either you or your spouse files a legal document called the “Complaint for Divorce” with the court.
Many divorcing spouses don’t realize they can reach a final agreement before filing the Complaint for Divorce with the Court.
This is where divorce mediation comes in.
Divorcing spouses might agree to use a divorce mediator to act as a neutral third party to help them agree on all marital issues.
Your marital issues might include child custody, parenting time, child support, payment of college expenses, alimony, and division of marital assets and debts.
Many New Jersey divorce mediators are attorneys trained in mediation and most charge by the hour.
Divorce mediation is confidential and either you or your spouse can end mediation at any time.
When you reach an agreement with your spouse, the divorce mediator draws up a document called a “Memorandum of Understanding.” It is not legally binding.
Therefore, in most instances, at least one of you still needs to hire a lawyer to prepare the legally binding agreement called a “Marital Settlement Agreement.” A lawyer also files the Complaint for Divorce with the court.
Here are three ways divorce mediation can cost you more in the long run in your divorce:
- You don’t have a lawyer advising you during divorce mediation.
The mediator cannot give legal advice to either you or your spouse. Only a lawyer can give you legal advice. If you agree to terms without knowing how the terms affect your legal rights and obligations, you will likely spend more money to have your lawyer change the terms with your spouse or attorney.
- One spouse knows more than the other about the marital finances.
It’s extremely difficult to make informed decisions if you don’t know how much your spouse earns or how much a significant marital asset is worth. In such instances, you will likely spend more money for your lawyer to obtain this information and change the terms already agreed upon.
- You use the wrong divorce mediator.
Not all mediators are created equally. Like anything else, divorce mediation is only as effective as the mediator you use.
You can spend significant legal fees if you’ve already invested much time and money in mediation only to be unable to reach an agreement. Now you need to start over with each spouse hiring his or her own lawyer.
That’s why it’s important to do your homework before hiring a divorce mediator to find the best fit.
Please call or click here to schedule a personalized consultation and determine if divorce mediation is right for you.