What is mediation?
Mediation is a process where the parties work with a mediator, an impartial third party, who hears and analyzes the facts and issues in their particular case, as well as the parties’ positions on resolving their differences, and then works with them to attempt to reach settlement, usually by their making mutual compromises. New Jersey adopted the Uniform Mediation Act in 2004, which applies to civil as well as family law cases, and are governed by Court Rules.
Do you have to attend mediation with an attorney in New Jersey?
The parties can attend private mediation either with or without attorneys, but when our clients go to private mediation before going to Court, we prefer to work with them first to determine what assets, income and other issues such as custody and parenting time are in play. We then devise various scenarios for settlement, aka The Game Plan, based on the particular facts of their case and the applicable law. It helps to have reasonable expectations, and this prepares our clients for the negotiations that occur during mediation.
Can you go to mediation after a Court case has been filed in New Jersey?
This method of alternate dispute resolution is so highly effective, it is built into the Court process for family law cases in New Jersey. When you get to a certain stage of the proceedings and the case hasn’t settled, a mediator is chosen for two hours of mandatory economic mediation, unless there is a domestic violence restraining order in the case, and there is now a special pilot program to include some of those cases as well. Those two hours are free of charge. If you wish to continue, as many people do, you pay the mediator’s usual hourly rate.
Ms. Copeland is a Court-approved mediator and is chosen by her colleagues to work in that capacity. She has been approved as an Economic Mediation Qualified Mentor, and will work with Economic Mediator applicants who must complete a five hour mentorship prior to being Court-approved. She also welcomes private mediations.