What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is a voluntary process between two divorcing spouses and a neutral third party who is a professionally trained Mediator. At A Mindful Mediation, LLC, our goal is for you to reach a reasonable and equitable agreement with your spouse or partner, one that is much more cost effective than litigation, and which meets your needs, and that of your family.
Using survey data presented in Martindale Nolo Research’s 2015 Divorce Study, 24/7 Wall St. determined the average cost of a divorce in each state. In New Jersey the average cost of divorce without children is $15,600 and $23,400 with children. The average cost of Divorce Mediation in New Jersey is $3,500, not including the fees of a review attorney or other professional services that you require.
While Mediation is the cost-effective and preferred path for divorce, you are in control and you may stop the Mediation process and pursue professional counseling, reconciliation, or proceed with divorce via professionals of your choice.
My partner and I seem to disagree on every point about our divorce. Can a mediator help us avoid a time consuming trial?
Heidi W. Neuberg, MS, LPC, LRC, is an experienced Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor and very familiar with conflict resolution. As a trained Divorce Mediator, she will create an environment for open discussion of the most difficult and sensitive topics that must be faced by couples in divorce.
Mediation is a proven effective approach to reduce and even resolve the inevitable conflicts among divorcing parties, including financial and custody disputes. Mediation is most effective when the divorcing parties are committed to negotiating a settlement.
I never thought I’d be in this situation but now that I am, how does divorce mediation work?
Depending on the complexity of your situation, both parties will meet with your professionally trained Mediator for approximately six to eight 90-minute sessions. You will often have homework to complete prior to each session.
During the Mediation process, several critical documents will be prepared, including child support guidelines and a parenting plan, a description of the division of your assets and liabilities and a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Your Mediator can provide your MOU to your attorney in Word format so that he or she can use the information to prepare your Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) efficiently.
The speed of the Mediation process and creation of key documents, including your non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), depends on your providing all necessary information to your Mediator in a timely and accurate manner. The level of conflict between the couple and your willingness to come to an agreement also contribute to the pace of the Mediation process.
What makes A Mindful Mediation the right choice for me and my partner?
Divorce is one of the most stressful and difficult experiences anyone can face. You may be feeling a range of emotions including fear, apprehension, anxiety, anger, and grief, to name just a few. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and trained Divorce Mediator, Heidi Neuberg understands the emotional side of divorce as well as its complexities.
Instead of irreconcilable differences, personality clashes and unnecessary drama, the Mindful Mediation process redirects your energy and attention to your common concerns and interests that can lead to mutual benefit, productive problem solving and solution focused negotiation.
Through the collaborative Mediation process, Heidi will encourage and guide you to reframe your divorce as an opportunity to create a positive outlook for each of your futures. If children or pets are involved, special attention will be focused on creating two new households where all parties can thrive.
“Mindfulness” is such a buzzword today. How does mindfulness apply to my divorce mediation? How will it make this process any less painful or stressful for me?
A Mindful Mediation, LLC uses mindfulness skills to separate the people from the problems that led them to the decision to divorce. Your Mediator is trained to see past the stories and emotions. We focus on your interests, not positions. A Mindfulness approach allows each person to participate as their best selves.
We look for opportunities to resolve conflict using creative problem solving. We may share solution-focused methods that most divorcing partners have found beneficial. Using these tools will help you to contemplate the decisions that will shape your future and will enable both parties to complete the Mediation process confident and prepared for settlement.
Does a mediator make a ruling or decision like a judge?
No. A Mediator is not a judge and Mediators do not make rulings. You, the divorcing parties, make the decisions. The Mediator is a trained, objective third-party who guides the divorcing spouses through productive negotiation to reach a mutually agreeable settlement of all issues. Once completed, the settlement is the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is then ready to take to your attorneys.
Do I need an attorney?
Yes. In order to create a seamless process from Mediation to Divorce Settlement, we recommend that each party retain an attorney prior to or no later than your second Mediation session. We encourage you to regularly update your attorneys about your Mediation progress and timeline. You will find several attorneys on our Resources page.
Once both parties agree to the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding you created together during the Mediation process, each of you will review it with your respective attorney, who will create a binding Property Settlement Agreement. The judge reviews the settlement agreement and finalizes the divorce.
Your attorney fees are independent of your Mediation fees, are set by your attorney and are paid directly to the attorney you choose.
Is Mediation confidential?
Yes. The purpose of confidentiality in divorce Mediation is to allow the partners to freely discuss negotiation possibilities with their Mediator. Neither spouse will need to worry about harming their case should they decide to stop Mediation and pursue divorce by trial.
Will our mediation discussion be part of a court record or can it be subpoenaed?
No. All communications in Mediation are confidential. The Mediator cannot be called as a witness at a trial or even use any of the negotiation communications as evidence at a trial.
Do you charge a retainer like an attorney?
No, there are no retainer fees. A Mindful Mediation, LLC, has an affordable billing rate of $250 per hour. A typical mediation session is 90 minutes and the $375 fee is payable at the end of each Mediation appointment. In Mediation, you pay for each session on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing you to maintain control of the expenses of your case.
Do you offer any discounts or reduced fees?
Yes. Every new client couple of A Mindful Mediation, LLC, may select either a free 30 minute in-office consultation or schedule their 90-minute initial Mediation session and receive a one-time discounted fee of $250. (The regular fee for the first 90-minute consultation is $375.)
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes. Acceptable forms of payment are credit cards or personal checks made payable to A Mindful Mediation, LLC.