Selecting the Right Mediator
Like hiring a divorce lawyer, choosing a mediator can take time and depends largely on your individual circumstances and preferences. For example, some people may prefer a female mediator to a male mediator. Some might want a mediator to be more aggressive while others might want a mediator who lets the parties do most of the talking.
In any case, we recommend that both parties speak with a potential mediator before hiring him or her. It is important that both parties feel comfortable with the mediator during the mediation sessions.
Mediators Who Understand New Jersey Family Law
In most cases, the right mediator is someone who understands family law, not just the mediation process. For example, at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C., our mediators, Dominic A. Tomaio and Laurie L. Newmark, are also family law attorneys with more than 32 years of combined experience.
They know the law, and they understand the options individuals have for resolving family law disputes. Because they have tried and settled cases, they also know what judges do to resolve divorce cases and how that may differ from an agreement that spouses could make on their own. They are aware of what is possible and what you are entitled to under the law.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a mediator:
- The mediator’s experience in mediation and family law
- The amount of training the mediator has received in mediation and family law
- Awards the mediator has received for mediation and/or family law
- The mediator’s style
- The mediator’s preferred structure for mediation
- The typical length of a mediation session
Consult With an Attorney Before Mediation
Even if your mediator is an attorney, it is important to discuss all issues with another attorney before and after you attend mediation. Depending on your specific circumstances, it may also be a good idea to bring your attorney along to mediation.
There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the most important reason is that your mediator cannot take sides. He or she can help you ensure that the agreement is fair, but will not represent you.
An attorney, on the other hand, can review the agreement you reach during mediation to determine whether it is within your best interests. Furthermore, your attorney can help you understand when litigation is a better option for you, especially when there are power imbalances.
How We Can Help
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C., we offer a few different options:
- As your family law attorneys, we can discuss your mediation case with you and help with finding a mediator who is right for you; OR
- As your mediators, we can help you reach an agreement through cost-effective mediation services.
Unfortunately, we cannot act as both your lawyers and your mediators — since mediators must be neutral, it would be a conflict of interest for us to take your side in one part of your case while acting neutral in another.
Whether you need an experienced family law attorney or a mediator in North or Central Jersey, contact our law office for a free consultation to discuss your case and your dispute resolutions options.