Yes, parties can commence mediation and prepare a written agreement memorializing those issues that have been resolved and spelling out those issues that will need a court to decide. For instance, parties may settle all of the financial and parenting issues and request that the Court decide on an award of counsel fees. Or, the parties can settle custody and parenting time and request that the Court only decide the length or amount of alimony. By being able to settle those issues in which there is an agreement between the parties and allowing the Court to decide the remaining issues, the divorcing couple can save on litigation costs, which are very expensive, and can streamline any trial preparation and trial time. More importantly, they retain control over the outcome of those issues upon which there is agreement. A skillful attorney can navigate a party through the processes and tailor the pending case to obtain the most beneficial result for the client.
Michele E. D’Onofrio is a family law attorney practicing in Warren, New Jersey.