Understanding the Ins and Outs of Property Division Mediation
Among the most complicated and contentious elements of many New Jersey marriage dissolution cases is the division of marital assets and debts. As a consequence, courts, couples divorcing, and New Jersey divorce attorneys oftentimes seek ways in which to lower the tension and more effectively address matters relating to marital property and financial liabilities. One option available to divorcing couples is property mediation.
There are a number of key facts and factors you need to better understand if you are considering taking advantage of property mediation in your divorce case. These include:
- Voluntary nature of property division mediation
- Mechanics of mediation
- Creating a property division mediation agreement
- Comprehensive mediation
Perhaps the most fundamental factor you need to understand about property division mediation is that it is a voluntary process. While a court can order people to attempt mediation to resolve disputes associated with the assets and debts of a marriage, a judge is not able to force a resolution of these types of issues through this type of alternative dispute resolution process.
When it comes to the voluntary nature of divorce mediation, it is also possible for a divorcing couple to begin the process and then elect to terminate it. With that said, a court that orders mediation will expect a divorcing couple to make a best effort to mediate. As noted before, a court cannot force a couple to start and complete mediation.Mechanics of Mediation
Mediation begins with the spouses signing an agreement to mediate. This particular agreement sets forth the parameters of the mediation process.
Once the agreement to mediate is signed by the spouses, a mediator will schedule at least one mediation session. Bear in mind that a mediator does not make decisions in a case or make rulings in the manner of a judge. Rather, a mediator facilitates negotiating between divorcing spouses.
At the conclusion of the mediation, assuming the parties have resolved issues pertaining to assets and debts, the final phase of the process occurs. This is the preparation of a mediation agreement.Mediation Agreement for Property Division
If a mediation is successful, the mediator prepares what is known as a mediation agreement. In this instrument, the agreement of the divorcing spouses as it pertains to property and debt is set forth.
The parties to a divorce sign the mediation agreement in the same manner in which people execute any type of contract. The mediation agreement is then submitted to the court for review and approval. If the mediation agreement meets muster in the eyes of the court, it is incorporated into the final divorce decree.Comprehensive Mediation
There are cases in which multiple issues pending in a divorce are mediated. These issues can include:
- Child custody
- Child parenting time
- Child support
- Alimony or separate maintenance
- Disposition of assets related to a family or closely held business
- Other matters that may be at issue in a New Jersey marriage dissolution case
As an aside, divorce mediation is becoming more widely used. There are a number of reasons why this is the reality of marriage dissolution cases in New Jersey at this juncture in time.
One of the reasons why mediation is being more widely used is to ease what oftentimes is heavy court dockets across the state. In addition, mediation can be favored by divorcing parties because it allows them to have a greater sense of control over their cases.Your Legal Rights in a New Jersey Divorce
If you are considering a divorce, or if your spouse has initiated the marriage dissolution process, you need to be as proactive as possible to protect your vital legal rights and interests. The first step in protecting your rights is to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced, dedicated, and tenacious New Jersey divorce attorney, like a member of the legal team at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen.
You can schedule an initial consultation with a skilled divorce lawyer from our firm by calling our offices at 201-845-7400. Our firm doesn’t charge a fee for an initial consultation and case evaluation.