Divorce is a process that can require the disclosure of many private details of your personal life and marriage, including your finances. Judges, multiple attorneys, your children, other appointees of the court, and even the public may learn about the state of your finances during traditional legal divorce proceedings. Your earnings, debts, and other sensitive financial information may be on display for all to see.
To help cut down on who may have knowledge about your finances or who can access your financial records, you may want to consider using mediation during your divorce. A New Jersey divorce attorney could help you through the divorce and mediation process, taking extra care to keep your financial life private.
What is Divorce Mediation?
In a divorce, there are many details to be worked out. If there is a valid prenup or postnup agreement, the divorce will be worked out accordingly. If there is no prior agreement, the couple can negotiate a settlement, or they can leave the decisions up to a judge regarding:
- Child support
- Child custody
- The division of debt, assets, and property
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution and is a commonly used method of negotiating a settlement in a divorce. During mediation, each spouse and their New Jersey divorce attorney meet with a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator’s job is not to make decisions for you or to dictate what will happen but rather to facilitate an open line of communication to help you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse determine what arrangements will work out best for you and your children.
Keep in mind that mediation requires total and honest disclosure by both spouses. A mediator does not have the legal authority to request a full accounting of each spouse’s finances. It is best to work with a mediator who has experience in family law matters.
Benefits of Mediation in a Divorce
It is recommended that anyone going through a divorce at least consider mediation. Using a mediator to help negotiate the terms of divorce has many potential benefits, including:
- Less expensive than going to court and having several hearings
- Higher chance of settling all divorce-related matters
- Mediation is confidential
- Reaching a resolution based on your own ideas of what is fair in your circumstances, instead of having a solution forced upon you based on rigid and impersonal legal values
- You can still have a New Jersey divorce lawyer represent you
- You and your spouse can control the process rather than the court and New Jersey laws
- Improved communication between you and your spouse, which could help you avoid future conflicts
- Can be easier on the children
- Can expedite the divorce process
Mediation Nearly Guarantees Confidentiality
Although they do not have the legal authority of a judge, mediators are sometimes thought of as private judges for hire. Your mediator will usually ask you to sign an agreement stating that you’ll keep what’s said in the mediation confidential and that you understand that the mediator is not allowed to disclose any of what goes on in mediation if there’s a court proceeding at a later date.
With no public record of what goes on in your meditation sessions, you can be confident that your private financial life will not be on record for all to see. If you or your spouse have finances that you would prefer to be kept out of the public eye, mediation may be the best way to complete your divorce.
Not only does mediation offer you an opportunity to keep your finances private, but it is also ideal for complex financial matters within a divorce. You will need to be prepared to bring these documents and possibly more with you to your meditation sessions:
- Tax returns from the last two to three years
- A few months of pay stubs
- A recent mortgage statement
- A few months of utility and phone bills
- Recent statements from all your standing bank accounts, investment accounts, and debts
- An itemization of all your assets
What to Expect in the Divorce Mediation Process
Mediations are unique, but in general, they begin with a phone call from the mediator or their assistant to gather some basic information from you. You will then attend the first meeting where the mediator will gather more information and let all parties involved know what to expect. Some mediations are done with everyone together in the same room, and others are done with the spouses in separate rooms with their own New Jersey divorce lawyer.
Mediation is a process, and you can usually anticipate having at least two or three mediation sessions. If there are complex issues within the divorce or you and your spouse cannot agree, you can plan on several more. The mediator will help you brainstorm different options and solutions to your disagreements and encourage both spouses to express their opinions and listen to the other party.
Once the mediation process is complete, the mediator or one of your lawyers will write up the final agreement and a parenting plan or schedule if applicable. These documents will be part of your divorce paperwork and judgment. They will be enforceable by the court if you or your spouse do not do what you agree to do.
Help from a Skilled Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey
Our attorneys understand the sensitive and private issues that are dealt with in many divorces. If you have questions or concerns about handling your finances in your divorce or how much privacy you can expect, our legal team can assist you. We are here to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have about your divorce and are qualified to represent you throughout mediation or in court should your case go to trial. Call Petrelli Previtera, LLC, today at (215) 523-6900, chat with a live agent, or schedule your consultation online.