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August 6, 2021

NJ Divorce Mediation and Memorandums of Understanding

NJ Divorce Mediation and Memorandums of Understanding

When the courts act justly, there are no winners and losers in a divorce.  Each spouse walks away from the marriage having lost a partner and a portion of the wealth they built together, but each spouse gets to keep their fair share of the marital assets, and if the couple has minor children, then both parents have the right to spend time with the children in accordance with the court-ordered parenting plan.  Except in the most acrimonious divorces, judges don’t really decide anything; they only approve decisions that you and your spouse have made together.  Of course, if it were that easy for you and your spouse to agree on things, you would not be getting divorced.  Much of the process of reaching an agreement about your divorce takes place during mediation.  Even if you can accomplish your divorce through mediation only, without a trial, you still need a Red Bank divorce mediation lawyer.

The Memorandum of Understanding Is Your Decision, Signed by a Mediator

During divorce mediation, you and your spouse meet with a mediator, a neutral party familiar with the legal and financial aspects of divorce.  When you reach an agreement, the mediator writes a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which you then submit to the court; it is recommended if both parties’ lawyers, accountant, and certified financial planner review the MOU before filing it with the court.

New Jersey courts recognize three kinds of divorce mediation:

●     Pre-Complaint Mediation – The parties meet with a mediator before filing for divorce.  If they are able to reach an agreement about all the issues, they can file for an uncontested divorce, and the mediator’s MOU forms the basis of their divorce complaint and marital settlement agreement.

●     Parenting Plan Mediation – In contested divorces where the parties have minor children. New Jersey Courts almost always order parenting plans and child support mediation. The MOU created during these mediation sessions forms the basis of the parenting plan and child support order.

●     Pre-Trial Mediation- If the parties have made irreconcilable requests about property division and a trial seems inevitable, the court will often order mediation as a last ditch effort to avoid litigation, since mediation is much less costly. This type of mediation is less likely to succeed in yielding an agreement, because the parties are already prepared to do battle in court, but sometimes the parties are able to reach a settlement that is better than taking a big risk by going through with an expensive trial.

Divorce mediation often takes the place of a trial, but it does not take the place of hiring a divorce lawyer.  You should consult with a lawyer at every step of the process.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

Judie Saunders offers divorce mediation services for a flat fee.  She is especially committed to helping survivors of abusive marriages start a new life.  Contact the Law Office of Judie Saunders in Red Bank, New Jersey to set up a free consultation.


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