Many people who are considering divorce do not understand the advantages of mediation.
According to Steven Rubenstein, a family lawyer with many years of experience, there are an abundance of reasons to consider mediation since it can save you time, money and stress. Mr. Rubenstein who practices in Montvale, New Jersey explains mediation and its benefits in the following manner:
“Mediation has been an effective alternative to litigation for divorcing couples in New Jersey for many years. That more people do not take advantage of the opportunity to avoid the costly, time consuming and emotionally draining experience that litigation presents by choosing to mediate is unfortunate.
Aside from the far greater control over the outcome and cost that mediation offers, it also provides the spouses with a far less contentious, far more civil and more “hands on” option to create a solution at far less cost.
I have been practicing family law in New Jersey for more than 43 years. I have been mediating family law disputes for the past 20 years. In my experience, litigation often turns a couple who have decided to divorce into bitter enemies who can no longer maintain even a remotely civil relationship post-divorce.
A skilled mediator can help the couple create a satisfactory resolution of the issues at a fraction of the cost of litigation. Furthermore, mediation allows the parties to have control over the process and to fashion a solution which works well for them and for their family members.
Litigation forces the couple to release that control to a judge who is usually unable to have the detailed knowledge of what is best for the couple, and, at best, is constrained by case and statutory law in building a solution. A couple who chooses mediation has far more flexibility to devise a plan that works well for them.
Bergen County and other New Jersey Counties now have mediation programs in which litigants who have not settled after several case-management conferences, perhaps one or more motions, extensive discovery and presentation of the case to an Early Settlement Panel, are sent before going to trial.
Referral to court ordered mediation usually takes months and it is very expensive after one of the parties has filed a Complaint for Divorce.
Conversely, a couple who who elect to mediate, prior to starting litigation, and are able to reach an agreement by which they resolve the issues in dispute, can usually be divorced within months.
The obvious question then is: If you are going to be sent to a mediator by the court after several months and money has been spent, why not mediate before beginning a painful and costly battle?
At worst, if pre-litigation mediation is unsuccessful, either spouse can still file a Complaint and proceed with a potentially narrower range of issues to deal with in this now simpler litigation.
In short, there is very little downside to choosing mediation, and very little upside to commencing litigation, if you want to end your marriage.
There are, of course, emergent situations which require litigation-such as to avoid dissipation of assets, to protect one of the spouses from domestic violence, or to establish temporary support if a spouse is unwilling to voluntarily provide it.
If these kinds of issues do not exist in your case, mediation should be the first option to consider.”
Steven Rubenstein, Esq., can be reached at Srubenstein@rmfmclaw.com.
You can speak to Attorney Rubenstein at 201 802-9202.