Many New Jersey couples who are ending their marriages will be able to reach a settlement through the process of mediation. Mediation can be less stressful and expensive than going to court, but it can also be helpful to know what to expect.
How to prepare
The preparation that you do for mediation is similar to the preparation that you should do for the divorce itself. For example, you should have information about your finances. Necessary documents could include tax returns, information about debt, pay stubs and investment paperwork. Research or talking to an attorney may help you get a better idea of how your property might be divided if you went to court. Think ahead of time about what you are and are not willing to compromise on. For some people, a visit to a professional to better understand their current and future financial situation may be helpful. This could help you avoid certain common errors, such as keeping the family home when you really do not have the resources to maintain it on one income.
Issues to address
If you have children, you can discuss both financial matters and issues involving child custody and visitation. The latter is about more than just who gets custody and what the regular visitation schedule will be. Additional topics to reach an agreement on include what to do on holidays and other special occasions, how you will handle disputes and who will pay for such things as the child’s extracurricular activities.
Divorce can be a painful process, and that can make rushing through it to get it over with quickly tempting. However, taking the time through mediation to reach a financial agreement that suits both parties and a custody and visitation agreement that is in the best interests of your child is worthwhile.