The Disadvantages of Mediation

Morris County NJ Divorce AttorneysOur firm, and the content on our website, spends a great deal of time discussing the many benefits that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods have to offer in relation to resolving family law and divorce issues, and for good reason.

ADR methods such as mediation, collaboration and arbitration can be great ways for parties to resolve their family law or divorce issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of assets in a much less stressful, costly, confidential and time-consuming manner than the traditional litigation process.

However, there are also certain risks and potential downsides associated with ADR methods, so it is important that you understand not only when they may work for you, but also when pursuing mediation or arbitration may in fact be disadvantageous, or particularly risky.

The Financial Disadvantages of Mediation, Morris County Divorce Attorneys

While ADR methods have much to offer, things like mediation and collaboration in particular can also present certain risks for its participants.  Much of the success of any mediation process will depend on each party’s openness, honestly, and willingness to communicate and conduct themselves in good faith, thus at the same time engaging in mediation may result in abuse of the process by individuals of a mind to do so.

For example, in order to resolve issues like alimony or marital asset division, each party will need to fully disclose a variety of financial information in order to ensure that their agreement is fair and reasonable for both parties. However, as mediation takes places outside of a court of law, there is no method by which parties can legally compel disclosure of specific information by the other party, or that once disclosed, such information is disclosed in an entirely accurate and truthful manner.

This reliance on good faith and honesty can easily lead to abuse of the process by particularly financially savvy individuals, and either result in unfair settlements, or the need to abandon the process and proceed with your divorce in through the court, wasting a great deal of time, money and effort.

What It Takes for a Successful Morris County Divorce Mediation

Beyond the above-mentioned financial considerations, there is also the emotional state of each party to consider. As we discussed, a successful mediation will require honesty, communication and cooperation, and while those things may sound easy on paper, often times for divorcing couples they turn out to be anything but.  While there is nothing wrong with at least “giving it a shot,” it is important to understand before entering certain ADR processes that the attorney(s) you choose to either represent you individually, or work with you as neutral third parties, legally cannot represent you should your ADR process fail, and your matter needs to instead be decided in court.  Should this become necessary, you will need to communicate all of the same needs and concerns you expressed to your ADR attorney to an entirely new attorney, and chances are any agreements you may have already reached through that ADR method will need to be begun anew.

How Should I Resolve My Family Law or Divorce Matter? Morristown Family Law Firm

When it comes to choosing exactly how you would like to try and resolve your divorce or whatever family law matter you are facing, there is no easy answer. And while this article focuses on informing readers of the risks and potential downsides of certain ADR methods, that is not to say these methods cannot also be extremely effective in the right circumstances.

For a better understanding of your options and potential next steps when it comes to your divorce, any kind of post-divorce issue or other family law matter, please reach out to our experienced family law firm.

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to resolve their divorce and other family law matters through negotiation, litigation, mediation, and arbitration in towns across New Jersey and Morris County, including Randolph, Madison, Denville, Florham Park, Hanover, Morris Township, and Morristown.

To speak with our legal team today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your divorce or other family law matter, what kind of method may be best for resolving these matters, or how specifically we can help you to do so, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 718-7705.

About the Author:

Jamie Berger practices exclusively in the area of family law. She has extensive experience in all aspects of litigation in family and appellate court proceedings. Prior to entering into private practice, Jamie served as a Law Clerk for The Honorable Eugene A. Iadanza, J.S.C. in the Monmouth County Superior Court, Family Part.

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