Tag: Wall NJ Divorce Mediation Lawyer
Mediation Offers Several Advantages You Can Discuss With an Experienced Mediation Lawyer in NJ
There are several benefits to mediation, whether it is voluntary or court-ordered.
Mediation is consistently being chosen by couples seeking to divorce in a less combative and hostile manner. It consists of the couple and a mediator who will direct discussion around the critical points such as child custody, child support, alimony, and distribution of debts and assets. The mediator is usually familiar with family law and financial matters. Several sessions are typically paid for down the middle by the couple. The mediator prepares a “Memorandum of Understanding” to be given to each party’s lawyer. They will write up the PSA (Property Settlement Agreement), a binding document in the divorce.
Mediation Advantages Over Litigation in New Jersey
Cost is one of the biggest advantages when it comes to mediation. It is substantially less expensive as opposed to litigation. A mediator is paid per hour, per session, and the cost is split between two people. Many mediators do not require a retainer as lawyers do (from $2,000 to $10,000) and charge about $200 per hour instead of a lawyer’s fees which can run from $250-$600 per hour. If the Carrisons choose to mediate their divorce settlement, on the first day, they spend 4 hours with their mediator at the cost of $150 per hour. That means each spouse paid $300 for that session. If the Greens went straight to litigation and spent 5 hours waiting for their turn in court, they have just spent $1,250 each and haven’t even started their case. Of course, there will be times when mediation can stall and become more expensive, but even then, it is less than litigation.
Private mediation sessions can be scheduled at the convenience of everyone involved. This provides ample time for preparation and reflection instead of court sessions which are subject to availability on the calendar. The efficiency of mediation takes much less time in terms of conflict resolution than litigation.
Rest assured that litigation leaves no stone unturned, no matter how delicate the subject matter. What is left of your dignity disappears as every text message, and email rapidly becomes common knowledge and on the record. Mediation is a confidential process that allows couples to be upfront and sincere, their minds eased by the fact that the sessions and their contents are private.
Anytime a relationship ends, emotions are running high. Mediation is effective at turning points of contention into points of consideration. This is not to say that sensitive subjects suddenly become inconsequential. Still, the ability to speak in confidence in a meeting room instead of putting on a show of sorts in an extensive, formal courtroom provides an opportunity for sincerity and flexibility in a safe space of mutual respect.
And the Kids
The less conflict, the better for everyone involved, especially the children. It isn’t just about “winning” when you are both hurting your kids. It is essential that you set an example of how to reach a compromise, even when you may not like each other very much right now. Children should never be forced to choose sides or to “tattle” on the other parent as fodder for mud-slinging in court. Adult issues should stay between the adults, but children will overhear or perceive discord. There is no doubt that there will be questions, but it is an excellent opportunity to talk about peaceful conflict resolution.
Benefits of NJ Court-Mandated Mediation
There are times when mediation is not voluntary. The NJ Courts frequently send couples to mediation before settling the divorce in a courtroom to allow the couple an opportunity to resolve their disputes through mediation rather than hashing them out over a lengthy, contentious trial. Parents focus on the best interests of their children more often than not, putting their well-being ahead of any personal agenda against their ex. Divorce is a scary time for everyone, and when children see the grown-ups acting as such, they feel more confident and less anxious. Another plus is that court-mandated mediation for child-related issues is free.
The MESP (Matrimonial Early Settlement Panel) is one kind of obligatory mediation. This panel will look into all of the financial disputes holding your divorce settlement back. Each spouse creates a memo with their lawyer that indicates where they stand on the economic area of the settlement. The lawyers will present the positions to a panel of two family law attorneys who will then recommend. This is not mediation because the couple does not settle the matter directly through a mediator, but their proposals are considered. If the suggestions are accepted and there is no custody problem, the divorce can be finalized the same day as the MESP. If not, the divorce will be scheduled for trial.
Whenever child custody is involved in a split, the couple is ordered to participate in mediation. The couple must construct a parenting plan in mediation to present to the Court. Not all plans are complete because sometimes the relationship breaks down and will not move further, but custody mediation gets the ball rolling. Parents who take an active role in the choices made regarding their parenting plan and child support are more likely to work together when future situations require it.
If You Want to Know More About what Mediation can do for You, Contact Our Family Law Offices in South Jersey
Mediation is not for everyone, but it can be a quicker and less expensive way to settle your divorce. Also, couples who go through mediation have more success in their relationships with new partners thereafter. There is nothing easy about getting a divorce, but you can be given negotiating tools that you can use moving forward by using mediation.
Bronzino Law Firm knows that there are many issues on which you need to decide. We do not believe in a cookie-cutter divorce. Our goal is to map out a plan with you, listen to what you want for your family, and help to implement that plan. The alternative dispute resolution options are there for the taking, if that is the most suitable venue for your family law matter. Whether you choose to litigate or go to mediation, we will be behind you all of the way.
If you want to discuss the possibility of mediation with one of our mediation lawyers in Sea Girt, Toms River, Berkeley, Stafford, Howell, Holmdel, Jackson, Freehold, or any town in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, contact us at (732) 812-3102 to schedule a consultation or fill out our online contact form to get back to you.
Failed Mediation and its Aftermath in Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Why do some mediations fail, and what happens next in the case that mediation falls through in a New Jersey divorce?
Getting a divorce in New Jersey is a stressful matter. In addition to the emotional processing both spouses have to do about the end of their current reality, there are also loads of logistics that must be addressed promptly in order to finalize the divorce. These logistics include the division of marital assets, spousal support payments, child custody and parenting time agreements, and child support payments.
When spouses work together collaboratively to come to a divorce settlement, the mental, emotional, and financial outcomes are more positive. In order to maintain this collaborative and amicable environment while details of the divorce are ironed out, divorcing couples often hire a mediator. Contrary to popular belief, a mediator isn’t there to help the couple get back together. Rather, they are a neutral third party, often a family law attorney, who helps facilitate negotiation of the terms of the divorce with the couple and their lawyers. The mediator is able to support the negotiation of a settlement when a couple’s desire to work together is active – and also their views about how best to divide their assets and their time with shared children are aligned. Unfortunately, mediation isn’t always successful for couples.
How Can I Support a Successful Mediation Process in Toms River?
In addition to entering mediation with a collaborative spirit, there are preparations that you and your family law attorney can undergo to provide a better chance for a satisfactory divorce settlement negotiation via mediation. The primary preparation you and your divorce attorney can discuss is which elements of your marital property are the most important to you moving forward, and which other elements you are willing to let go of. How flexible are you to give and take when it comes to the types of assets that you could be awarded? Equally important is that you discuss with your family law attorney your non-negotiables when it comes to the custody arrangement you will agree to for your children. When you and your legal team have a solid understanding of where you stand going into mediation, valuable time, energy, and money can be spared.
What are Some Possible Causes for the Failure of a Divorce Mediation?
There are two main reasons that divorce mediation doesn’t work. The first is that one or both spouses are so emotionally triggered by the divorce that they are unable to cooperate with the process in a collaborative way. The process of valuing and equitably distributing marital assets – let alone determining what the children’s path will be moving forward – is impossible to achieve when emotional distress prevents spouses from looking objectively at the situation to come to a fair agreement. Being in an emotional space in which each spouse can see that the divorce represents the ending of a legal agreement that opens the door for a more aligned future, and that there are material issues to address in order to get there, is essential for mediation to work.
The second reason many mediations don’t work is that each spouse of the divorcing couple has a completely different idea of what is a fair split, and which elements of the marital life they are unwilling to part with. Disagreements about the children’s custody also often lead to a failed mediation.
What Happens When a Divorce Mediation Does Not go as Expected in NJ?
A failed mediation can cause spouses to lose sleep, the ability to focus on their lives and professions, and money as additional measures must be taken to legally dissolve the marriage. While mediation generally takes between two and three months, the divorce court process is a much longer process, typically lasting around a year. That’s a lot of time, energy, and money to have to add to the divorce process! Unfortunately, mediation doesn’t always go as expected, and the couple can’t come to a suitable agreement.
What are Possible Next Steps After a Failed Mediation in New Jersey?
When mediation fails, there are a couple of next steps that a couple can take. The first is to continue the divorce negotiation process using only each spouse’s divorce attorneys. If helpful information has been brought to light about each spouse’s non-negotiables and needs through the mediation process, there is a possibility that negotiation can continue out of court.
Another option is to enlist the support of experts in the field, for example, a child psychologist if an area of impasse regards determining child custody.
Finally, litigation is the step that divorcing spouses take when they cannot reach an agreement out of court. In this case, a New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part judge reviews the case based on a number of state-approved factors to make a determination regarding the division of assets, custody arrangements, child support, and alimony. This is the most costly outlet, as in-court resolutions often take much longer, resulting in high attorney fees and other costs.
Contact a Brick, New Jersey Divorce and Mediation Attorney Today
A skilled family law attorney is an essential asset in an amicable divorce. Are you separating from your spouse and want to do so out of court? We’ve got your back. We successfully represent clients Lakewood, Middletown, Toms River, Howell, Jackson, Marlboro, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties to help them move forward with their lives in a swift and resourced manner after a divorce.
At Bronzino Law Firm we get the nuances of divorce through mediation. Contact us at (732) 812-3102 for a free consultation to discuss your case, and let us help you resolve your divorce in a positive way.
Child Custody Attorneys Discuss How to Handle Travel and Custody Over Summer Vacation
Providing Parents with Financial Advice Across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas
As states open up, the federal government considers relaxing travel restrictions to the Mexican and Canadian borders. Several amusement parks announce plans to reopen; many co-parents are already planning family getaway options, vacations, and travel with their kids outside the country.
As millions of kids across the country divide their time between parents, the upcoming Spring and Summer holidays raise concerns over COVID-19, making what would have previously been a way to make lifetime memories more stressful. Decision making around how best to handle travel-related pandemic precautions is challenging for an individual to consider, but as co-parents who had difficulty agreeing on family issues before separation or divorce, navigating child custody in this COVID era means several other unforeseen issues (i.e., children being silent super spreaders) have turned the concept of family visits and vacation travel into a new battleground.
Differing opinions about the severity of the pandemic and the necessary precautions to take can make co-parenting especially volatile as co-parents weigh the impact on one parental household’s behavior may affect the health of another (i.e., step-siblings or relatives who may eschew masks). Unless your specific COVID-19 era child custody agreement prevents out-of-state travel or has other restrictions, then generally, each parent may choose to travel during the holidays, even though there is a pandemic, whether or not your co-parent agrees.
A lot of proactive, positive co-parent communicative or mediation should protect both families and assure that everyone is on the same page and working to the best of the child. Understandably, parents would be hesitant about their child traveling or going on vacation during this current health crisis.
If this sounds like your situation, take confidence that the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, located in Brick, New Jersey, can help. Our experienced child custody and family law attorneys stay on top of ever-changing travel bans and guidelines to provide superior legal guidance for your custody matter.
Planning to Travel? Review Your Court Mandated Child Custody Order
Before booking any travel, check the custody order for information regarding the specific details or steps you need to obtain travel consent with your child. This may often require providing a detailed itinerary before leaving and/or 30 days written notice. It is significantly important to comply with the custody order, as the courts can find any parent who does not adhere to it in contempt.
Even among amicably divorced spouses without a custody order in place, it is highly recommended that you obtain written consent from the other party or speak with a compassionate child custody attorney experienced in parenting time and visitation matters, who can help you enforce your parental rights and get court approval to prevent costly misunderstandings and stressful legal disputes.
What Kind of Documentation Does My Child Need for International Travel?
Once travel approval has been obtained, in addition to your child having a valid passport, the traveling parent should also have a signed and notarized letter of consent from the co-parent. Although there is no legal authority in the United States requiring a parent to have a signed consent document from the other parent to travel outside the United States with the children, a parent may still be stopped by Customs and Border Patrol in the United States or the county they are traveling to. This serves to reduce the potential for child abduction or child trafficking claims.
If the child is traveling with one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian or a group, then the United States Customs and Border Protection has listed details that should be included in the letter, such as the:
- child’s name
- child’s birth date and place of birth
- child’s primary address
- passport numbers for all travelers or supervising adults in the group (i.e., school groups, teen tours, vacation groups)
- traveling parent’s name and date of birth
- travel details (where, when, why)
- contact details of the parent not traveling
- notarized signatures of both parents
I Do Not Want My Child Leaving the Country. What Can I Do?
It’s not uncommon for ex-spouses to be citizens of another country, further increasing the possibility your co-parent may take the child abroad. In this age of COVID-19, it makes sense that a parent might have reservations about their ex-spouse taking their child out of the country at this time.
Parents with concerns about their right to travel or who may want to restrict travel abroad with their child should consult a knowledgeable high-conflict parenting-time attorney for assistance. Here are a few situations where an experienced attorney may be able to help you in assuring your child’s health and well-being is a priority and prevent an ex-spouse from taking your child out of the country:
- Incorporate specific travel restrictions into the custody order that would require mediation or a court order to modify a child custody agreement.
- Surrender your child’s passport to the court to prevent international travel without your consent. This would require your co-parent to schedule a hearing to request the passport. A parent with significant reservations could present compelling evidence as to why travel would not be in the best interest of the health and well-being of their child.
- Prevent your child from getting a passport. Simply refusing to give consent can stop the process. This might be considered extreme as, typically, both parents must give consent for a minor to obtain a passport. However, if there has already been a termination of the co-parent’s parental rights, the traveling parent with sole custody can usually get a passport without the other’s permission.
Sea Girt, NJ Child Custody Lawyer Can Help You Enforce Your Parental Rights
At the Bronzino Law Firm, our team of attorneys is committed to supporting our clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in working with their co-parent to carry out custodial agreements, guide and assist you with emergency motions and navigate revisions to court-ordered routines that may be necessary.
Contact us online or call us at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options and to schedule a free online confidential consultation with a member of our firm regarding your co-parenting needs during this time.
Gray Divorce: How to Survive a Divorce Later in Life or After a Long-term Marriage
According to the National Center for Family and Research (NCFMR), the divorce rate among “baby boomers,” or people in their 50s or 60’s, has more than doubled since 1990. This increasing trend of late-in-life divorces, often referred to as “gray divorce,” “silver splitter,” or “diamond divorce,” became mainstream in 2004, when AARP published a study on “divorce at midlife and beyond.”
The current rise of “gray divorce” can potentially be attributed to multiple factors: people living longer, both spouses working and therefore being more financially independent, and the destigmatization of divorce, which might empower unhappy couples to separate.
If you’re considering or going through a separation or divorce later in life or after a long-term marriage, then you may have to address concerns about the division of retirement benefits, jewelry, artwork, confusion over beneficiaries, and worries about how best to resolve complexities related to dividing the marital estate or assets accumulated over the life of the marriage, as well as any existing debt. Not to mention any costs associated with relocating and selling the family home.
As we have previously discussed in “Divorce Ages 50 and Over,” many of these questions and others you may, require extensive investigation, high levels of financial knowledge, and the ability to negotiate – something which we at the Bronzino Law Firm are prepared and eager to provide our clients with.
Unique Financial Circumstances Facing Gray Divorcees in Ocean County, NJ
In addition to the standard issues of a divorce at any age, like equitable distribution and alimony, other problems associated with “gray divorce” may include division of complicated high-asset marital estates, real estate evaluation, health insurance, and Medicare benefits, healthcare expenses overall, and who gets the pets. Furthermore, a financially dependent spouse may feel they need more support given the reduced likelihood of starting a career late in life. A financially supporting spouse may be worried about their ability to keep up support payments as their work-life slows down or they retire.
Divorcing Senior Citizens Caring for Grown Dependents After Their Divorce
As of late, it is all too common for older couples considering divorce to have to care for their adult children living at home, as well as their own elderly parents who may either be residing in the same household or are being cared for at an assisted living facility. This fact also comes with the realization that following the division of the marital estate; there may be fewer assets, thus making caring for “boomerang children,” children with special needs, and other dependents more difficult to manage.
Couples in the situation of possibly having a less disposable income will have to carefully weigh the options available to them to meet these related needs and decide how best to divide retirement accounts, pensions, inheritances, and other assets.
For such a potentially drastic change in post-divorce financial needs, those considering a divorce in their twilight years should seek out a financial advisor, a sound professional estate planning attorney, and consult an experienced, trustworthy, and knowledgeable “gray divorce” attorney who can successfully mediate or litigate a fair divorce settlement that does not leave either party financially stranded.
Although estate planning generally includes a will, medical and financial powers of attorney, an advanced care directive, and in some cases a “special needs trust,” it could also serve to legally protect your wishes for your estate and your family if you happen to pass away before a divorce decree is issued.
Mediation and Valuing a Strong Foundation & Clear Expectations in a Gray Divorce
It’s critical for those considering or going through a divorce later in life to create a strong foundation and clear expectations about what you want your next chapter to look like. Although litigation is an option, an alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation, is a powerful tool of the divorce process that can usually keep costs lower, take less time, and be less stressful for all parties involved.
Contact our Passaic County Gray Divorce Lawyers for a Free Consultation at our Brick or Sea Girt, NJ Office
At the Bronzino Law Firm, we understand the emotional and financial trauma of divorce. We have extensive experience and resources to properly value all your assets and those of your spouse or domestic partner. We are committed to negotiating fair settlements, but we’re also ready to litigate your case in court.
The Bronzino Law Firm takes pride in successfully representing clients in Ocean County and Monmouth County communities, including Asbury Park, Neptune, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and across Central New Jersey.
Do I Need a Sea Girt Divorce Attorney during Mediation?
Under the right circumstances, divorce mediation can be a favorable method for couples to resolve their divorce, and reach fair and reasonable terms when it comes to marital asset division, alimony, child support, and child custody and parenting time.
However, many individuals and couples who enter into divorce mediation are not familiar with its potential downsides and dangers, the biggest of which is the simple idea that a divorce mediator does not represent either party, rather their job is to act as a facilitator of conflict resolution. This means that if one party or the other is agreeing to an “unfair” deal, or agreeing to terms which may cost them down the road, as long as the divorcing parties are in agreement the divorce mediator cannot step in and tell one person or the other that what they are agreeing to is unfair or even dangerous.
Simply put, entering into divorce mediation means that you have no individual legal representation – something which can open the door to a number of different problems and risks. This is why many couples who are choosing divorce mediation also choose to retain individual legal counsel during the mediation process.
In today’s article, we will discuss exactly why entering into divorce mediation without individual legal counsel can be extremely risky, and what a divorce attorney can do for you as part of the mediation process.
The Risks of Mediation in Monmouth County NJ
One of the most important requirements of a successful mediation is that both parties openly and honestly share financial information with one another. This information is used to calculate the many different financial aspects of a divorce, including alimony, child support, and equitable distribution. However, unlike in a more traditional divorce, there is no way for one party or the other to compel specific information to be shared or verify that the financial information that is being disclosed is accurate and truthful.
If a person was inclined to do so, they could very easily fabricate or lie about financial information, thereby hiding assets from the divorce process and ensuring that they get a much “sweeter” (and technically illegal) deal than their spouse. This concern especially is why it is often recommended for each party to retain separate legal counsel during a divorce mediation.
On the other hand, there is also the possibility that even when both parties share complete and accurate financial information, they reach agreements which look fair on paper, but actually hurt one or both parties financially in the long-term. A common example of such a situation would be when one spouse retains possession of the family home in exchange for savings account funds and a few other concessions. However, what neither party realized was that the mortgage is still in both parties’ names, so if payments are not made, the mortgage lender is free to go after the person who thought that they no longer “owned” their home.
The bottom line is that there are many different ways for individuals and couples to knowingly, and unknowingly, sign unfair or damaging agreements during the mediation process due to the fact that a divorce mediator cannot give individual legal advice to either party, and is there only to facilitate communication and compromise between the divorcing couple. However, by retaining the services of a Monmouth County divorce attorney during the mediation process, individuals can avoid these costly mistakes, and ensure that any agreement they reach is both fair to them and a sound long-term plan.
Wall NJ Divorce Mediation Lawyer
So while a divorce mediator cannot give individual legal advice to the participants of a divorce mediation, each party is free to retain their own legal counsel during the mediation process. However, your Wall NJ divorce lawyer will play a somewhat different role than they would during a more traditional divorce.
During divorce negotiations or courtroom litigation, your divorce attorney would be directly speaking to the judge on your behalf or speaking to your spouse’s attorney on your behalf most of the time. However, mediation is designed to allow the divorcing parties to interface more directly with one another, meaning you and your spouse will do most of the talking and negotiation – something which appeals to many and is what draws them to mediation in the first place.
During mediation, your lawyer’s role is more to advise you on what types of settlements are fair to you, whether or not they believe your spouse is trying to hide or obscure financial information from the mediation process, and what the long-term implications of any potential settlement are to you, your children, and your family as a whole.
Contact Our Point Pleasant NJ Divorce Attorneys Today
So while part of the attraction of the mediation process is the potential savings when it comes to paying for legal counsel, the bottom line is that there are very real reasons why people pay for attorneys to represent their rights and needs in matters as critical and life-changing as a divorce. Your parental and financial rights and standings are being decided, often for years to come, and the money you “save” by not retaining legal counsel is often lost to poorly designed financial agreements, and appeals and post-divorce modifications after you realize the agreements you signed were unfair or based on inaccurate information.
At the Bronzino Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping our clients to reach fair, situation-specific, and well though out divorce and family law agreements in Ocean and Monmouth County towns such as Wall, Jackson, Point Pleasant, Sea Girt, Asbury Park, and the surrounding communities.
Attorney Peter J. Bronzino has built his practice based on the belief that each and every one of his clients deserve highly attentive and effective legal counsel, something which larger firms simply cannot promise or hope to provide.
To speak with Peter Bronzino and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, whether or not it makes sense to retain individual legal counsel during a divorce mediation, or any other divorce or family law latter you may be facing, please contact us online, or through either our Brick office or our Sea Girt office at (732) 812-3102.