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Lawyers in the New Jersey Divorce Mediation Process

One of the most common questions asked about mediation is: do I need my own lawyer? There are multiple nuances involved in this issue and no clear consensus on whether or not enlisting independent counsel is a help or a hindrance to the mediation process. As seasoned divorce mediators in New Jersey, our position remains that each case is unique and should be approached accordingly. The general statutory requirements of mediation are rather simple and many of the most frequently asked questions regarding lawyers in the mediation process are outlined below. Our intention is to provide a user’s guide to this issue, allowing you to make the most informed and confident decisions with your specific needs and priorities in mind.

For additional information and a cost-free mediation consultation, contact our offices in Hackensack, Bergen County at 201-897-6670 or Whippany, Morris County at 973-975-0476 or submit your questions online.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Lawyers in the Mediation Process

Do I need a lawyer for my divorce mediation?

The short answer is No. Although you may elect to hire your own lawyer, you and your spouse can participate in the mediation process alone after choosing your mediator. From a cost-saving perspective, undergoing mediation without an additional lawyer can save you a significant expense. On the other hand, some people feel more comfortable with a lawyer who engages in the process with them.

Can my attorney serve as my mediator or vice versa?

The purpose of a mediator is to serve as a neutral third party who structures and facilitates the process of resolving disputes. By very nature, the mediator cannot take sides. As a result, your attorney cannot act as your mediator, at the risk of losing the impartial perspective necessary for a successful mediation. Similarly, your mediator cannot serve as your attorney if you undergo mediation and subsequently choose to pursue litigation to resolve your divorce. In essence, your mediator and your attorney must be distinct entities who serve different roles.

What is the difference between my attorney and my mediator?

Your attorney is available to advocate for your interests and yours alone. He or she can provide legal advice about which avenues may best serve your needs and weigh in on potential strategies for achieving your goals. Your mediator cannot tell you what he or she thinks you should do. Instead, your mediator can present the positives and negatives of a given route from an objective perspective. With issues such as alimony or division of assets, your attorney can advise you, while your mediator can provide a fair potential solution. Your attorney can advocate on your behalf, while your mediator can guide you toward reaching a mutually agreeable arrangement. As with all mediations, the outcome remains solely in your hands.

Should my mediator be an attorney?

Mediators can come from a variety of backgrounds, including the mental health and legal professions. However, there are a multitude of advantages to having a lawyer as your mediator, including:

  1. He or she may provide insight into the legal process outside of mediation, including litigation, arbitration, etc.
  2. He or she may have experience serving as a mediator in another capacity, such as a panelist for the Marital Early Settlement Mediation Program
  3. He or she may have more knowledge of legal issues involving the division of assets, child custody, child support, and other important factors that must be addressed before your divorce is resolved
  4. He or she will likely have more experience dealing with other attorneys and can, therefore, structure the dialogue during mediation sessions to ensure that the participants are the priority, not their respective attorneys. A mediator who is an attorney can also facilitate communication between both attorneys to reach an expedient resolution.

Can two litigants use one mediator?

Contact Our New Jersey Divorce Mediation Lawyers Today

The skilled divorce and family law attorneys at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark serve in a variety of capacities for clients undergoing divorce in New Jersey. With extensive experience as qualified mediators and thorough knowledge of the mediation process, we assist clients as third-party mediators or as independent counsel to advise you during the mediation process. Our firm is dedicated entirely to the practice of divorce and family law and our three founding partners are among the only 2 percent of lawyers recognized by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as Certified in Matrimonial Law.

Our partners alone have a combined 30 years of mediation experience and several of our attorneys are New Jersey Court Approved Family Mediators pursuant to court rule R.1:40-12. Our lawyers supplement our knowledge and resources with a level of compassion and sensitivity that allows clients to feel safe and in control of the mediation process. Ultimately, it is our goal to empower you to speak and to be heard every step of the way. To discuss your current situation and find answers to your questions, contact our divorce and family law mediation team today. Our Bergen County office can be reached at 201-897-6670 and our Morris County can be contacted at 973-975-0476.

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