Collaborative Divorce & Mediation
Experienced Family Law Lawyers Assisting Monmouth County Residents
Litigation is expensive. Even though divorces are varied, many family law disputes are resolved before commencing a trial. Some are settled after trial has commenced but before it is concluded – resulting in even greater expense as your attorney will have fully prepared for your trial, which typically involves a substantial amount of prep time in advance of the trial. Settlements can help families reduce the burdens on their emotions, time, and finances. Collaborative divorce and mediation are non-adversarial approaches that recognize that a court proceeding is not always the best way for a marriage to end. The goal of both is to minimize conflict and create an agreement that both parties find satisfactory. In addition to helping clients from Monmouth County and beyond through these processes, the family law attorneys of Goldstein, Bachman & Newman serve as arbitrators, mediators, and facilitators in collaborative law and mediation proceedings.
Two of our founding partners serve as members of the Early Settlement Panel (ESP), which is a mandatory step required by the family courts in the New Jersey divorce process. During the ESP, a neutral mediator(s) listens to each spouse's viewpoint and arguments, and recommends ways in which the spouses could compromise with regard to financial controversies, in an effort to help them “settle early” (i.e.- before the need arises to commence full preparation for a costly trial with uncertain results) – hence, the name, “Early Settlement Panel”.
Collaborative Divorce in New Jersey
In traditional family law litigation, clients and their attorneys try to "win" on various points: child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. The process and all judgments are, however, ultimately in the court's control. Collaborative law is a private process tailored towards spouses' needs that is non-adversarial. In general, this private process is intended to involve less pain (financial and emotional) and acrimony than a traditional divorce, which can be particularly important when children are involved. It is designed to afford the two spouses with more control over the process and their feelings about it.
At the start of the process, spouses and their lawyers sign an agreement committing to resolve their disputes without going to court. Since they pledge to opt out of litigation, the spouses can, in theory, share experts, specialists, and accountants. This means the process can move faster and cheaper than a traditional divorce, and both parties are committed to a less acrimonious approach to ending a marriage. After each issue is resolved through collaboration, the resulting settlement agreement is filed in the appropriate court as part of uncontested divorce proceedings and will have the same force and effect as if the matter proceeded thru the court system from inception.
The Mediation Process
Unlike the Early Settlement Panel, which only addresses financial disagreements, divorce mediation can address both financial and non-financial aspects of a divorce, from visitation to child custody. In divorce mediation, spouses choose a mediator outside the judicial system to help the spouses understand and achieve compromises they can live with and reach agreements on all issues surrounding the divorce. Our attorneys serve as the neutral divorce mediator for the two spouses or, we also serve as the advocate/attorney for a spouse as our client when a third-party mediator will serve in the mediator or arbitrator role.
Why would a party elect to go to mediation rather than trial? A primary benefit is that mediation is intended to be less stressful and less expensive than litigation. In mediation, as with collaborative divorce, you should have more control over what happens and are able to craft a settlement agreement that is best for your family. The judge who makes all final decisions at trial has less information about you and your family than you and your spouse do.
Ask A Middlesex County Attorney about Your Divorce Matters
At Goldstein, Bachman & Newman, our divorce lawyers offer prospective clients an initial consultation. You can get advice about your various options for ending a marriage in Middlesex County or elsewhere in New Jersey. We will give you information on traditional divorce as well as mediation and collaborative divorce. We can offer you a sense of the pros and cons of each approach with respect to your particular situation. Our main office is located in Old Bridge, and we have a second office in downtown Freehold, New Jersey, a few short blocks (walking distance) from the Monmouth County Superior Court. You can contact us at 732-360-9300 or via our online form. Our clients often come from Red Bank, Rumson, and East Brunswick, Ocean County, Somerset County, as well as other communities throughout the state.