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Mediation:  Frequently Asked Questions

Mediation of divorce is the wave of the future.  Mediation is a much healthier process than litigation.  Agreements reached through mediation endure and provide for a much more secure and stable post-divorce era.  At Howes & Howes, I have successfully mediated divorces for many Central Jersey couples, and as a member of the Somerset County Early Settlement Panel, I have helped settle scores of divorce disputes.  What follows are some FAQ on mediation.

If I use a mediator, do I also need an attorney?
In most mediated settlements, it is in each party’s interest to seek independent legal counsel. The role of the attorney will be generally limited to providing legal advice, reviewing the agreements of the parties, and preparing any documents to be filed with a court.

If I need an attorney anyway, why shouldn’t I get an attorney for a mediator?
While many of NJAPM’s accredited mediators are attorneys, many are not. The role of the mediator and an attorney are very different. The mediator functions as a neutral that facilitates an agreement between the parties. By law in New Jersey, an attorney may represent only one party to a dispute.

The training to become an attorney and a mediator are very different. Mediators are professionals trained to act as neutrals and help the parties reach agreements themselves. In selecting a mediator it is important that the mediator have the necessary training and experience in mediation.

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 or more 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.

I have been a party to a mediation and am dissatisfied with the mediator’s performance. How can I file a complaint?
If you believe that your mediator acted unethically or incompetently, then you can file a complaint with the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators Ethics Review Board by e-mail at . Your complaint should be addressed to NJAPM Mediator Ethics Review Board c/o our Association office. Your complaint will be handled in confidence.


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