In divorce mediation, usually three attorneys are hired: one for you, one for your spouse, and a third attorney to serve as the divorce mediator.
Instead of beating each other up through the court system, the clients meet with the mediator with the protection of their individual attorneys and work out their differences.
After the divorce, they often seek mediation if other issues should develop that they can’t resolve on their own as opposed to going back to court for more “matrimonial warfare.”
Mediation can be the best way to work out a divorce.
I have found that mediation results in divorces in which the parents are much more effective in co-parenting their children after the divorce.
Divorce mediation stands in stark contrast to the more traditional types of divorce action.
In the traditional divorce action, each spouse normally retains his or her own attorney.
The job of the attorney for each spouse is to negotiate the best deal on all issues for his or her client that is possible. The traditional system analogizes to having two gladiators fighting vigorously to the best of their abilities for their respective clients.
Somewhere along the line, our judicial system came up with the idea that the clash of these legal titans is the best way for the truth to emerge and for the fairest settlement to develop.
However, the truth is that experience has taught those of us in the system differently.
Most serious practitioners of matrimonial law now recognize the limitations that the traditional judicial system has to offer divorcing spouses.
These limitations include the fact that judges have overburdened calendars, thus often resulting in lengthy delays; the fact that some judges are more well-versed in family law issues when they first become judges than others are, and thus some judges make decisions that are or seem fairer than other judges; and a whole host of other factors.
If you don't want to pay an attorney to actually attend the mediation with you, I could serve as your “review attorney” if you are planning on attending mediation without having an attorney by your side.
Your “review attorney” is the person who you rely upon for legal advice. This can either be at the mediation itself if you choose to bring lawyers with you or before or after the mediation session.
In terms of my mediation background, I completed general mediation training in 1982 through the Metropolitan Assistance Corporation, Victim Services Agency/Travelers’ Aid Services in Brooklyn, New York while I was attending law school and was awarded a “Mediator’s Certification Award” in 1982.
As such, I am one of the more experienced divorce mediators in Central NJ, having been mediating divorce cases for over 30 years (although I no longer serve as a mediator myself; instead I focus on representing divorce clients in mediation and litigation.)
Mediation is certainly not for all couples. Cases involving high conflict, spousal abuse, or child abuse may not be appropriate for mediation. Those cases I litigate in Court.
However, it has been my experience that more and more couples are looking for an amicable divorce. More clients are calling my office and saying, “I want to be fair with my spouse and my spouse wants to be fair with me.”
It is these people that divorce mediation holds the most promise for.
I am involved with a significant number of mediated divorces, and I would be happy to discuss divorce mediation with you.
Please feel free to call (732) 845-9010 or send me an email to discuss this option.
Steven J. Kaplan, Esq.