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Why mediate?
  • Cost - Mediation will generally cost far less than litigation
  • Speed - The length of the mediation process is determined by the parties, not the courts
  • Maintenance of relationships - In family matters, maintaining a good relationship for the future is critical to the well being of children. For businesses, good business-customer or business-supplier relationships define success.
  • Confidentiality - Everything that happens in mediation is private and confidential. In litigation, the proceedings are of public record
What kind of cases can be mediated?
Practically any type of dispute can be mediated. Whether it is a civil dispute involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, a divorce, or a family matter, the parties can resolve it without resorting to traditional adversarial litigation. Even after litigation has been started, mediation can be a practical way to settle the matter in a less expensive and timely manner.
Won't I do better if I get a lawyer and litigate?
It is always possible if everything goes perfectly that you would do better litigating. However, you can never guarantee at the end of the litigation process that you will like the result since it may be imposed by a court. And by that time, you will have spent a lot of time and money and created a very hostile relationship with your former spouse.

In mediation, you know that the result is fair and reasonable to you because you voluntarily entered into it. Besides the time and money you have saved, you have established a good working relationship with your former spouse so that you will have fewer problems in the future dealing with issues about your children, etc.

I already talked with an attorney and he/she doesn't recommend mediation. What should I do?
Many attorneys don't like mediation because, after all, they will lose the large legal fees that they earn from divorce litigation. Ask your attorney the following questions and then judge for yourself about mediation.

  • How much will it cost for your services per hour?
  • How many hours will most probably be spent by you by the end of the divorce?
  • Will my divorce go to a trial?
  • If the divorce goes to trial, what happens if I don't like the judge's decision?
  • Will it make a difference in the decision as to which judge gets assigned to the trial?
  • What percentage of divorce cases actually go to trial?
  • If the case doesn't go to trial, does that mean that I will settle the case?
  • If my spouse's attorney is as good as you are, doesn't that mean that the settlement will be reasonable for both parties?
  • Why shouldn't I use a mediator for settling the issues?
  • If I use a mediator, can I still use your services to get advice during the process and to review the final agreement? If the answer is no, why not?
  • How many months will the whole process take?
    • If I go to trial?
    • If I use your services instead of a mediator?
    • If I use your services and those of a mediator?
My spouse and I are already using attorneys for our divorce and we are unhappy about how long it is taking and how much it is costing. Is it too late to mediate?
It is never too late. At almost any stage before your divorce is finished, it is better to resolve any outstanding issues between the two of you directly rather than through attorneys. Just tell your attorneys to stop further work until you explore the mediation process.
How long does mediation take?
The time varies widely by the type of matter being mediated and other factors. A divorce mediation could take from eight to fifteen hours depending on the commitment of the divorcing couple to the process and the complexity of the parenting and financial issues.
There is a lot of anger between me and my (spouse, partner, boss, client, etc.) Can mediation still be successful?
Yes. Mediators are trained to focus the parties on solutions for the future rather than past events. As long as the parties put aside their anger during mediation sessions and agree that a solution that they reach voluntarily is better than an adversarial process where a third party will decide, then mediation can be successful.
Our children are having a very difficult time. They are not doing well at school and are acting out at home. What can we do about it?
While mediators do not provide therapy, New Jersey Mediation Group is associated with excellent child psychologists who have extensive experience working with children in these situations. We can assist you in getting the help for your children that you need.
There are a lot of terms that I don’t understand. Where can I find definitions?
We hope that the following glossary will help. Also, look in the Links and Recommended Books sections for access to other useful resources.

Alimony – See “spousal support”.

Case Information Statement (CIS) – A form that is filed in divorce proceedings. It contains information about the spouses and their children, income and expense information, and a balance sheet of family assets and liabilities.

Child support guidelines – Guidelines issued by New Jersey that are used by the courts in determining the amount of child support to be paid. The parties to a divorce do not have to follow the guidelines if good cause is shown.

Complaint – The legal document filed with the court that starts a divorce action.

Contested divorce – A divorce where one party contests or denies the grounds (basis) for the divorce or the terms such as spousal support being sought. Both fault and no-fault divorces can be contested.

Emancipation – The age at which the parent or parents of a child are no longer financially responsible for the child. There is no set age for emancipation in New Jersey. Emancipation may occur upon a child reaching 18; upon the child's completion of secondary, college or graduate education; upon the child's entry into the armed forces; or upon the child's marriage.

Equitable distribution – The division of the marital property of the couple. Generally, property that a person brings into the marriage, inherits, or receives by gift from a third party is not marital property.

Grounds for divorce

  • Irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months
  • 18 months separation in separate residences where parties have not engaged in sexual relations with one another during that period of time
  • Extreme mental or physical cruelty--3 month waiting period between last act complained of and filing of complaint for divorce
  • Adultery
  • Desertion--willful and continued desertion for a term of 12 or more months
  • Constructive desertion
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug habituation--12 or more consecutive months
  • Imprisonment--18 or more consecutive months
  • Institutionalization for mental illness--24 or more consecutive months
  • Deviant sexual behavior
Legal custody – Legal custody usually takes two forms—joint legal or sole custody. Joint legal custody requires both parties to confer and agree upon major decisions concerning the child or children’s health, education, welfare and safety. Under sole custody, one parent can make those decisions alone.

Legal separation – There is no legal separation in New Jersey. There is divorce from bed and board, which is the equivalent. Under this procedure, all of the issues normally resolved in a divorce are legally settled but the parties remain married.

No-fault divorce – A divorce that is granted with no requirement to prove that one of the spouses was guilty of some marital misconduct. See “grounds for divorce” above.

Non-contested divorce – A divorce where one party does not contest or deny the grounds (basis) for the divorce or the terms such as spousal support being sought. In a mediated divorce, one spouse may state a fault basis for the divorce but not contest the action because both parties have agreed in advance to all of the terms of the divorce.

Parenting time – A term for visitation that more accurate describes the time spent with a child by a parent. See “visitation”.

PAR (parent of the alternative residence) – A term used in shared parenting arrangements to designate the parent that has the child or children less than the majority of the time.

PPR (parent of the primary residence) – A term used in shared parenting arrangements to designate the parent that the child or children the majority of the time.

Physical custody – There can be primary residential custody when one parent has the child or children for most of the time and shared residential custody when the child or children spend approximately equal time with each parent.

QDRO – A qualified domestic relations order. A court order that requires a portion of one spouse’s retirement benefits to be awarded to the other spouse. The order is directed to the administrator of a company’s retirement benefits.

Shared parenting – When the parents have shared residential custody—see “physical custody”.

Spousal support – or alimony—The payment by one spouse to a former spouse. There are four types in New Jersey: limited duration, open durational, rehabilitative, and compensatory.

Visitation – The legal right of the non-custodial parent to spend time with his or her children. This term is being phased out by the legislature and courts in favor of the term “parenting time”.

 
News and Announcements
Nov.22.2018

Divorce Mediation Videos

Watch Carl Cangelosi in one of four divorce videos he produced for the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators. The video is set in his Plainsboro office.

Click here to view.

Ed Alpern reporting for Lawyers.com interviews Carl Cangelosi about how divorce mediation works. The interview takes place in his Plainsboro office.

Click here to view.


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