Litigation vs. Mediation
In typical divorce proceedings, the lawyers of the parties involved present arguments for their preferred outcomes in financial and child-related matters. The court makes a final decision about property division, spousal and child support, and child custody. Any later changes to those arrangements go through the courts.
In mediation, a neutral third party or group helps the parties agree on a settlement. Compromises are reached, and any points where the parties cannot agree are handled by an arbitrator or assessed by a neutral party.
If one spouse is vindictive, abusive, or otherwise unlikely to compromise, mediation may not be viable. But in a case where both spouses want to end the marriage as simply and painlessly as possible, mediation is likely the best choice.
Types of Mediation
Mediation is a general term for Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). There is more than one type of ADR or mediation.
The State of New Jersey recognizes several types of ADR, summarized below:
- Arbitration: a neutral third party renders judgment after hearing each argument; judgment may be binding or not if agreed upon beforehand
- Settlement proceedings: settlements are reached by voluntary agreement
- Summary jury trial: a panel of jurors issues non-binding recommendations after hearing arguments
- Early neutral evaluation: the parties’ attorneys present arguments to a neutral third party, who explains strengths and weaknesses of the arguments to help reach a settlement
- Neutral fact finding: used to analyze complex disputes and to make recommendations
- Facilitative process: a neutral party facilitates communication without influencing any decisions
There are also hybrid methods that allow particularly difficult issues to be judged and others mediated.
If you think mediation may be right for you, set up an appointment with our Somerset County divorce mediators at (908) 259-6673. We serve Central New Jersey, including Somerset County, Morris County, Union County, Middlesex County, and Essex County.