If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage (or civil union), you have a number of options as far as the process to agree upon the terms of the divorce. All of the processes end the same — with a court issuing a final judgment of divorce (the divorce decree), which is the official termination of your marriage or civil union (sometimes called a dissolution decree for civil unions). But the spouses need to agree on the terms for the divorce which the court will certify as part of the decree.
Many people hire lawyers to negotiate on their behalf. The upside of that is you are receiving expert advice and you don’t have to deal directly with the negotiations. The downside is that it is an expensive process, with each side paying their own lawyer to analyze their own and their spouse’s financial documents and information, negotiating with the opposing attorney and then writing up and reviewing all of the documents. Depending on the attorneys hired for the process, that can become very adversarial. The more adversarial, the more negotiating required, the more expensive and time-consuming the process becomes.
More and more divorcing couples use mediation to negotiate the terms. A trained and experienced mediator will know the state-specific divorce law and help the parties navigate all the decisions they need to agree upon. Most of my clients have a sense of how they want to split things and what they want to do with alimony. Divorce agreements can be simple or complex, depending upon the circumstances of the parties and how detailed they want to make the ultimate agreements. Generally, the more trust and flexibility there is between the divorcing parties, the less complex the agreement. Attorneys are always available for consultation to couples who are mediating their divorce. The difference in cost can be significant, with a mediated divorce being on average less than half the cost of a more traditional litigated divorce. The parties are paying for one mediator to assist the negotiations — instead of two attorneys — and attorney involvement in a mediated divorce is usually limited, along with the costs.
Divorcing couples will likely get similar outcomes for either process, except that the mediation process is less adversarial, less expensive and less time consuming.
Learn more about Divorce and Divorce Mediation in the Sanns New Jersey Divorce Mediation Guide and contact me should you have any questions or want to get the process started.
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For questions or to get started, contact Marvin at Sanns Mediation.