Avoiding Trial: Alternative Dispute Resolution And Mediation

By Lois G. Schwartz | December 17, 2019

Alternative Dispute Resolution

When it comes to solving legal issues, most people assume that a trial is the only option. However, more attorneys and their clients are increasingly turning to trial alternatives to settle their legal disputes. Known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), this allows both sides to present their cases in more informal settings and negotiate to help resolve their issues in a way that is acceptable to both sides. When it comes to family law, the most commonly used ADR is mediation. In mediation, an independent third party assists the opposing parties to help identify issues, develop options, consider acceptable alternatives, and ultimately try to reach an agreement. Here is a short guide to the mediation process and its pros.

The Pros Of Mediation

Mediation allows opposing sides the opportunity to come to an acceptable agreement on one or many issues without needing the ruling of a third party (for example, a judge) to make decisions for them. It is meant to encourage a collaborative, long-lasting solution that is less likely to be disputed in the future. In addition, ADR techniques like mediation are much more cost-effective. Court fees, filing fees, and attorneys fees can quickly add up if the two parties are at odds over several issues. Mediation provides a less costly alternative. In many cases mediation is voluntary, but in other cases (including New Jersey) mediation can be court-ordered in an attempt to solve issues outside of a family court setting and keep the dockets from becoming too crowded. 

The Process

Mediation is usually a structured, face-to-face meeting of the two opposing sides and their attorneys. The mediator begins by introducing themselves and the parties involved and explaining the process, guidelines, and confidentiality requirements. Then, they will give each side the opportunity to explain their positions on the issues. Next, the mediator will spend some time with each side individually, allowing them to express themselves and try to find points where collaboration or cooperation is possible. Then, they take that information to the other party for deliberation and allow them time to discuss and reflect on the offer with their legal support team. 

If everyone does end up coming to a mutual agreement, the attorneys can then draft and sign a settlement agreement, which becomes a binding contract on all parties. If no resolution can be reached, the mediator will declare an impasse and the case will then proceed through the court. 

Seek Legal Help!

Even though mediation is not a trial, it is nonetheless imperative to have an experienced attorney on your side to explain all the issues and be your advocate in any negotiation setting. After all, a mediation can end in a binding contract, so having an attorney who can protect your rights and negotiate the best deal possible is just as important as having one in the courtroom.

Contact a Cherry Hill Family Law Attorney To Discuss Your Divorce Case Today

Are you dealing with a divorce, child support dispute, or in the middle of a custody battle? There are few things in life as emotionally draining as a divorce or family dispute, and you need an experienced family law attorney on your side to be your advocate in a trial setting or any other legal proceeding. Family law attorney Lois Garber Schwartz, Esq. represents clients in both trial and alternative dispute resolution proceedings throughout South Jersey and is ready to provide her clients a tailored and compassionate approach. Call 856-482-8799 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. The firm is conveniently located at 1040 Kings Highway N., Suite 202, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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    Lois Garber Schwartz

    1040 Kings Highway N., Suite 202

    Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


    Phone: 856-375-8989

    Fax: 856-482-0343