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Exercising Your Options

By Snyder & Sarno on April 08, 2014


Alternative dispute resolution processes are processes that you may choose to utilize during your New Jersey divorce to avoid litigation. There are two alternative dispute resolution processes from which you may choose: mediation and arbitration.

What is mediation?          

Mediation is a facilitative process by which you and your spouse come to an agreement regarding the terms of your New Jersey divorce. If you choose to mediate, you will select a mediator, who is a neutral third-party that will assist you and your spouse in negotiating a divorce agreement. The mediator will discuss the issues involved in your New Jersey divorce with both parties and will help you to cooperate and decide the terms of your divorce.        

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is an evaluative process whereby the terms of your New Jersey divorce are decided for you by a neutral third-party. If you choose to arbitrate, you will select an arbitrator, whose role is to focus on the facts of your case and decide the terms of your divorce for you. So, if you and your spouse still want the benefit of what could be a less time consuming and more cost effective alternative to the traditional divorce process but do not think you will be able to negotiate an agreement, arbitration may be right for you.

Advantages of mediation and arbitration

Mediation and arbitration share many of the same advantages. Both processes can be much less time consuming than the traditional divorce process. You may be able to obtain a divorce more quickly and it is more likely that a mediator or arbitrator will be able to work around your schedule. Additionally, because mediation and arbitration can be less time consuming, they can cost less money than the traditional divorce process.

Another advantage of both mediation and arbitration is that, unlike the traditional litigation process where you get whatever judge is assigned to your case, you and your spouse will select your mediator or arbitrator. This means that you have a say in who facilitates or evaluates your New Jersey divorce issues.

Mediation has additional advantages. It can be less adversarial, as you and your spouse will attempt to work together to come to a divorce agreement that you are both comfortable with. Because the divorce terms will be the result of this cooperation, you are more likely to be satisfied with the terms of your divorce later on down the road. Additionally, because it can be less adversarial and less time consuming than the traditional litigation process, it can be less stressful.

Arbitration has additional advantages too.  For example, you can choose which issue the arbitrator decides. Therefore, if there are only one or two issues that you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on, you can select an arbitrator to hear and decide only those specific issues, rather than decide every term of your New Jersey divorce.  Additionally, you can determine the arbitrator’s authority to make decisions.  Finally, the importance of scheduling arbitration on dates and times that are convenient cannot be overlooked. 

Disadvantages of Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration each have their own set of disadvantages.

Mediation requires you and your spouse to cooperate. If you and your spouse have a history of violence, if you feel you will not be able to truly express your desires in front of your spouse, or if there is any other reason why you feel you will not be able to cooperate with your spouse, then mediation may not be right for your New Jersey divorce. Additionally, unlike a judge, a mediator cannot compel either party to do anything.

The major disadvantage of arbitration is that it is generally binding. This means that, if you are unhappy with the arbitrator’s decision, you will have a limited right to appeal it.

Choose Snyder & Sarno for Your Alternative Dispute Resolution Needs

If you choose to utilize mediation or arbitration for your New Jersey divorce, you should consider hiring an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer to look out for your needs and help you through the process. Our attorneys at Snyder & Sarno are experienced in handling mediations and arbitrations and would be happy to work with you through your alternative dispute resolution process.

If you are already represented by counsel but are looking for a mediator or arbitrator, Snyder & Sarno has a team of talented attorneys who offer these services as well.

If you have questions about utilizing either mediation or arbitration for your New Jersey divorce, whether you are seeking representation or a mediator or arbitrator, please contact the experienced attorneys at Snyder & Sarno at (973) 274-5200.

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