When divorcing spouses cannot or will not work out their differences, they may end up before the courts in a divorce trial. The trial itself often takes several days, if not weeks, and the hearings that precede the trial can take months or even years in some cases. Is there an alternative to this frequently drawn out process? Yes. It’s a way to divorce known as mediation. As a divorce process, mediation can save couples time (and money) and the stress of a divorce trial. Read more
In our last installment of our ongoing case study series, we saw how the Marriage Early Settlement Panel (MESP) made recommendations for property distribution in Robert and Sharon’s divorce case, filed in New Jersey family court. Today we will look at how the distribution process might work in private divorce mediation. Read more
We are pleased to announce that two of our family law attorneys have achieved the status of Court-Approved Mediator for the state of New Jersey. Congratulations to attorneys Allison Holzman and Jason Tuchman for their accomplishment and expansion of Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group’s mediation services. Two other Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group attorneys, Alison Dunn and Gregory Pasler recently completed advanced training in mediation. Read more
After three years of marriage, Khloe Kardashian filed for divorce last week from husband Lamar Odon, citing irreconcilable differences in public court documents released on Friday. It may make for juicy celebrity gossip to speculate about what went wrong for the reality TV couple, but if Kardashian and Odon are like most celebrity, high-profile couples, this first glimpse of their divorce will likely be the last glimpse until a final divorce decree is announced. Read more
As divorce mediation grows in popularity among couples trying to save money, time, and the hassle of going to court as they end their marriages, it puts the focus on the kinds of skills needed for this type of divorce process to be successful. Read more
You’ve done your homework and decided that pursuing private divorce mediation is in your best interest for settling your divorce matter as quickly and painlessly as possible. But will your spouse see mediation in the same light? Here are some tips for how to introduce your spouse to the concept and benefits of mediation, and why it may be worth the two of you giving it a try. Read more
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise reached a settlement agreement in their headline-making divorce only 11 days after Katie filed in New York to end the marriage. The contents of the agreement are confidential, but the statement released by Katie’s legal team, “We are thrilled for Katie and her family and are excited to watch as she embarks on the next chapter of her life,” seems to be a telltale sign that the actress got exactly what she wanted. How did she do it? Here are three key ways Katie’s approach to divorce was incredibly smart: Read more
When Kevin and Jessica entered divorce mediation, they both immediately demanded “school night” custody of their 7-year old daughter Lilly. It became such a stalemate that it looked likely the pair would need to go before a judge. As a last resort, the mediator took each aside and asked them privately to explain the real goal of their custody demands — what did Kevin and Jessica really want? Read more
Due to the state’s judge shortage crisis, divorce trials in Essex County, home to the state’s busiest courthouse, have been on hold since December 2011. Still waiting for your day in court? Depending on the issues involved, it may be wise to ask your divorce attorney if a form of alternative dispute resolution is appropriate in your case. Two of the most popular alternatives to litigation include:
Mediation: If both parties are willing, private divorce mediation can accomplish the same goals as litigation, but comes with the added bonus of helping you feel more in control of the divorce process.
What Happens: In a typical divorce mediation session, you and your spouse sit down with your attorneys and a neutral professional known as the mediator (often a lawyer or retired judge). At first, you may take turns identifying your individual needs and wants. The mediator then tries to facilitate a settlement discussion, talking about compromises that might make sense in your situation. However, a mediator only makes recommendations when asked — his or her sole goal as a neutral professional is to get the parties to come to a resolution that they can both live with. It should be noted that this process is not recommended for divorces where abuse or domestic violence is present.
What Else to Know: Mediation is completely private and non-binding. Let’s say your July 14 court date is postponed and you give mediation a try, but it doesn’t work out to your satisfaction and you decide to go before a judge in the fall. The courts won’t know what happened behind closed doors, so nothing that happened during mediation can be used against you (nor can it be used against your spouse). With that said, however, mediation is so popular precisely because people are getting the results they want.
Arbitration: Getting divorced through arbitration is similar to mediation in that it’s confidential and an out-of-court type settlement, but the arbitrator is the one who in the end decides the terms of the divorce, much the same as a judge.
What Happens: In a typical arbitration session, a neutral arbitrator–often a lawyer or retired judge–sits in a room with a stenographer and takes testimony. Unlike the give and take of mediation, you need to go into an arbitration meeting prepared and ready to present your case to this person in the exact same way you would a judge. After listening to both sides, the arbitrator deliberates and then hands down a binding decision that you will need to live with (or go to court to appeal).
What Else to Know: If you feel you have a very strong case and have demands that you know your spouse will not compromise to meet, this type of alternative dispute resolution may be the route to take. For those who want a third part to make a decision, but don’t want to linger in court system limbo over the summer, arbitration can be a very efficient way to reach a settlement.
In divorce mediation, you and your spouse (and your respective divorce attorneys) meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, and with his or her help, amicably work to reach agreements on all the pertinent issues of divorce, including child custody, division of assets, and child support and alimony payments. Read more