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In New Jersey and all other states, married couples who wish to divorce do not necessarily have to go to court. Divorce mediation is an available option for those who can agree to avoid confrontation and resolve key issues in a peaceful, cooperative atmosphere. Negotiation sessions are scheduled so spouses can work out their differences and come up with a settlement plan that meets the needs and ultimate goals of both sides.

An experienced attorney can act as mediator to help discussions stay focused and make sure spouses stick to their agreement to avoid dispute. Negotiation is the central factor from which a successfully mediated settlement stems. Spouses must be willing to listen to each other, speak in a non-confrontational manner and avoid topics of contention, such as personal issues having to do with their past marital problems.

It is important to prepare for mediation sessions. It’s helpful to create a list of topics to discuss as well as to know ahead of time what the desired outcome for a particular issue happens to be. For instance, a concerned spouse may want to negotiate a shared custody arrangement or work out a visitation plan while having sole physical custody of his or her children.

Divorce mediation allows New Jersey spouses to negotiate the terms of their own settlement. Once all issues are resolved, the spouses typically sign an agreement that then goes to court for approval, after which, the judge overseeing the case will issue a final decree. This process is often a lot less expensive than litigation and is best for spouses who get along well enough to peacefully discuss and negotiate future co-parenting plans and other divorce-related issues, such as property division or alimony.