In recent years, mediation has become a very common alternative to divorce litigation. Spouses preparing for the end of a marriage often agree to sit down with a neutral third-party professional. The idea is to work through their current disputes with the help of a professional familiar with New Jersey law.
Successful mediation sessions lead to spouses signing a binding agreement clearly stating what terms they negotiated. Those agreements dictate what happens during an uncontested New Jersey divorce. A mediation agreement can clarify the terms for property division and financial support matters. The spouses can even work out shared custody compromises during mediation. Some families in New Jersey may find that mediation is perhaps the only path forward if they desire a timely divorce, which is why demand for mediation services has surged in recent months.
New Jersey faces a shortage of judges
For several years, the New Jersey court systems have reported a concerning shortage of both civil and family law judges. Those shortages have drastically increased how long it takes parties to resolve legal disputes. In some counties, litigated proceedings are not currently available for those hoping to divorce. Only those who set their own terms and request uncontested divorces can legally end their marriages while the courts are on hiatus or not hearing certain cases.
Therefore, even those currently embroiled in disputes about divorce matters may need to consider mediation as an alternative. Otherwise, they may need to wait months or possibly more than a year before they can legally end their marriages. Spouses who work together can move on with their lives more quickly than those who insist they need a judge to hear their cases.
Mediation offers benefits beyond simply making divorce accessible to those in counties without enough family law judges. Successful mediation gives the divorcing spouses control over the terms set in their divorces. Those who litigate have no direct control over what a judge decides to do. Additionally, mediation is confidential, which allows people to discuss important relationship issues without airing their dirty laundry in family court.
Recognizing why mediation has become such a common choice during New Jersey divorces may help people evaluate whether it is a viable option for them, given their current circumstances.