Separation and divorce can be either uncontested or contested. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse reach agreement on all of the issues of custody, parenting time, support, and division of the assets and debt.

            In a contested divorce, one or more of those issues will need to be negotiated, or decided by a Judge.

            In either situation, I can work in any one of three modes:

            a. Your attorney, negotiating issues and settlement with your spouse’s attorney.


b. Your attorney, meeting with you and your spouse (who does not retain an attorney) to finalize and document a settlement that you and your spouse have created.


c. Neutral court-approved mediator working with you and your spouse to reach an agreement acceptable to both sides. Each party will need an attorney to finalize the agreement and process the divorce.

            My functions, controlled by New Jersey Court Rules, vary in each mode as shown below. You must decide which mode meets your needs.


                                                            Your Atty                   Your Atty                   Neutral

                                                            Spouse has                  Spouse -                      Mediator

                                                            Atty                    no Atty                


1. Meet with you and spouse              No, only you               Yes                             Yes

2. Explain legal issues and

    rules                                                 Yes                             Yes                             Yes

3. Identify and clarify details              Yes                             Yes                             Yes

    of your settlement 


4. Negotiate settlement issues            Yes                             No-you & spouse        Facilitate

                                                                                                need to agree.             negotiations

                                                                                                                                    for you &



5. Give opinion on fairness                 Yes, spouse                 Yes, spouse can          No       

    of agreement to you                         has own atty.               have it reviewed

                                                                                                by atty.


6. Prepare final Settlement                 Yes                             Yes                             No. Need

    Agreement                                                                                                               Separate atty.


7. File divorce documents                  Yes                             Yes                             No


8. Represent you at Court                   Yes                             Yes                             No



9. Issues concerning power                Low. Each party        High. Spouse              Medium. Each

    of one party over the other              has atty for advice.     without atty must        party must be

                                                                                                be able to under-         able to

                                                                                                stand & agree              negotiate

                                                                                                without duress.           freely.


10. Useful in situations involving       High conflict              Amicable divorces      Divorces with

                                                            divorces with              with issues                  open issues

                                                            many issues.               resolved.                     but parties willing to negotiate.


11. Costs                                             High. All                    Low. Usually only     Medium.

                                                            Negotiations are         one atty involved.       Mediator

                                                            through attorneys.                                           eliminates need for separate attorneys until the end.

            Please advise us how you want to proceed and we shall send you the appropriate retainer agreement. Thank you.

                                                                        Robert J. Ziese, Esq.