Mediation - Collaborative Law- Litigation - What does it all mean?

If you find yourself considering a divorce, you are most likely seeking to optimize the end result for you and your family. There are several options available when considering how to proceed with a divorce.

There are three general approaches to resolving the dissolution of your marriage and the terms of your final Judgment of Divorce. It is recommended that you discuss with an experienced matrimonial attorney the benefits of the following approaches:

  1. Mediation
  2. Collaborative Divorce
  3. Litigation

The first blog is going to discuss mediation and stay tuned for blogs in the coming weeks about the collabortative divorce process and litigation.


Using mediation as a mechanism to come to a Matrimonial Settlement Agreement can potentially avoid the financial damage and emotional havoc that sometimes results in litigated cases.

In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral mediator who helps you and your spouse determine the terms your Agreement. It is critical for the mediator to be neutral and not an advocate for either party.

It is recommended that both parties consult with their own, individual attorneys prior to and during mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement agreement often referred to as the final Matrimonial Settlement Agreement.

Very often the mediator in a divorce will outline the terms of a proposed Agreement in a Memorandum of Understanding. The parties may then take the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding to their attorney(s) to prepare a final Matrimonial Settlement Agreement which can be incorporated into a Final Judgment of Divorce.

Mediation sometimes thought of as a better, less contentious, less expensive and dignified way to get a divorce.

However, it is critical to remember that many mediators see their role as mediator as simply bringing people to an Agreement regardless of the ultimate fairness of the result. That is, many mediators don't focus necessarily on evenhandedness and may become focused on getting the matter resolved. This can by its very nature result in an inequitable or unfair agreement – especially to the weaker negotiating party. Many mediators simply try to get you to agree.

To avoid this, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney who can advise you as to your rights prior to proceeding with and during mediation.

Contact us for help in your mediation. At The Law Office of Darren C. O'Toole, LLC our Monmouth County divorce lawyers have 50+ years' combined experience. Call us to schedule a free, private consultation today!

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