A mediator is a neutral third party and is not a judge that sits on the bench in family court. It might be a retired judge, but is not a judge that’s actually presiding over a case in the courthouse. This is a professional hired by a divorcing couple. Working with the mediator, divorcing spouses negotiate and work towards reaching agreements on the issues of their divorce, including child custody, child support, alimony, and how marital property such as homes or businesses are fairly divided – and other issues as well.
The mediator, through training and specialized knowledge, helps the parties address these issues in the fairest and least stressful manner possible. Mediation is non-binding which means that at the end of this process, if either side is not satisfied, they don’t need to accept the terms and they can go back and renegotiate certain items or pursue other options.
It’s very different than going before a judge in the courthouse where the court’s decision – the judge on the bench – is actually creating a binding determination. Mediation in general can save considerable time, money, and stress over going to court, and these are all savings that can certainly help a divorce remain on the friendly side.
Bari Zell Weinberger is the owner and managing partner of Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group in New Jersey. She is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney.