Filing for a divorce can be achieved by using a divorce lawyer. Alternatively, the parties can negotiate terms of a settlement using mediation; a non-adversarial method of alternative dispute resolution. A mediator is a neutral third-party who has specialized training and experience in resolving conflicts between parties.
Using mediation requires a certain amount of trust. Fundamentally, parties in mediation must be able to negotiate in good faith. Those with situations involving physical or emotional abuse, stealing or hiding money, and gambling or addiction problems tend to put mediation out of reach.
The Mediation Process
The mediation process usually begins with a meeting with the couple. Background information about the marriage, finances, and the family are discussed, and areas of non-agreement are identified. Discussions during mediation are confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent divorce proceeding. The parties must agree to this requirement up front.
During the process, the mediator may meet with the parties individually or together. The aim is to facilitate finding out what will work best for all involved. Mediation is a creative and collaborative process. Using mediation allows for personalized outcomes that may not be available from court settlements.
Gather Appropriate Documents
A divorce brings legitimate concerns about how it will affect personal lives and finances. It is an emotional time and feelings of anger and regret are common. However, such feelings can get in the way of making good decisions. Gathering necessary personal and financial information is the best approach to take when facing divorce. You must have a clear understanding of your personal and financial situation, which includes:
- Assets: Home(s), investment, and retirement accounts
- Debts: Mortgages, loans, and credit card balances
- Employment history: Past and present employers and salary history
- Work schedule: Full or part-time status and provided hours
It is recommended to gather paperwork that supports the above list, and to compile all relevant legal agreements, such as prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, restraining orders, or powers of attorney.
Set Clear Goals
Regardless of how divorce is negotiated, the parties will ultimately set terms for disposition of property, funds, and debt. If there are children involved, child support and custody arrangements will also be decided. Write down what you hope to achieve and keep this clear in your mind throughout the process. This is a pragmatic exercise to keep you focused on how you would like your life to look after divorce.
Morristown Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Through the Divorce Process
If you are contemplating divorce, the Morristown divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help. To set up a free consultation, call us at 908-575-9777 or complete an online form today. Located in Somerville, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.