DO YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY OR A MEDIATOR?
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
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.