The option to use mediation to settle your divorce in New Jersey has helped many couples resolve their divorce issues peacefully and privately. In particular, New Jersey offers the “Early Settlement Program (ESP)” to help couples mediate their divorce issues.
Advantages of mediation
There are several benefits to trying mediation instead of jumping straight to courtroom litigation. Mediation allows you and your spouse to privately negotiate your divorce issues with the help of a third-party neutral, who helps guide you to solutions in everyone’s best interest.
Mediation is also generally quicker and cheaper than litigation and couples tend to be happier with the outcome. However, mediation is not always right for every situation, and in fact, using mediation can sometimes result in a worse outcome than you could potentially otherwise get in a courtroom.
Mutual trust is necessary in mediation
Many divorces happen because of breakdown in trust between spouses. Mediation requires you and your spouse to provide complete and honest information on topics such as your finances and property.
If you do not trust your spouse to give accurate financial information or documentation, mediation may not be the best option for you.
Divorce litigation allows you to use the discovery process. This involves your divorce attorney serving your spouse with documents requiring them to answer certain questions under oath or provide specific documentation.
Discovery is sometimes the only way to get to a fair outcome in a divorce, since without it, one spouse would likely hide assets or give false information.
Situations involving domestic abuse
Divorces that involve physical or mental abuse may also not be right for mediation. Mediation involves a setting designed to produce a fair agreement through cooperation and compromise, and if you are afraid or intimidated by your spouse, this could cause you harm.
Your abusive spouse may take advantage of your fear and try to get you to agree to things you shouldn’t. A mediator has no power to make decisions, so you might be better off in a setting involving a judge.
Although you should consider mediation, make sure it is the right choice for your situation before moving forward with it.