Domestic violence negates New Jersey mediation requirement | Lane & Lane, LLC
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Domestic violence negates New Jersey mediation requirement

A recent New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division case provides an example of when the state's requirement for mediation can be overruled. This can happen if one party is found to be a victim of domestic violence brought on by the other party of the divorce, and a restraining order is issued. The recent ruling was the result of a case in which a man and woman were divorced and shared one child.

During the divorce, the couple had agreed to speak with each other in regards to their child. They also agreed that, if they had disagreements, they would settle them through mediation. However, when the mother applied for and received a final restraining order against her ex-husband, her willingness to communicate dissipated. 

At that point, the child support payments were not to be paid directly to the ex-wife but rather through the court system. However, the ex-husband failed to make several of the payments, which prompted his former wife to take him to chancery court. She then claimed that mediation had done no good and requested that the mediation stop. The court asked the woman if she would allow her ex-husband to email her so that communication could continue, but she would not agree, because she said that he would send her threatening emails. The appellate court ruled that the requirement for mediation would be dropped in this case.

While mediation is often a good option for New Jersey couples who are divorcing or who share children, this case is a good example of when mediation is not the solution. When former spouses are or were victims of domestic violence, even minimal contact with their abusers can be traumatic. Individuals who find themselves in similar situations may benefit from the assistance of legal professionals who will work to ensure that they no longer have to be in contact with their violent ex-spouses.

Source: mediate.com, "Domestic Violence Finding Overrides Agreement to Mediate", Mary Novak, April 17, 2015

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