As part of any divorce that litigates towards trial, the parties will be Court ordered to economic mediation if the case is not settled after Early Settlement Panel and is heading towards trial. A mediator, typically a lawyer, will be appointed by the Court, generally chosen by the attorneys involved and the parties will have to pay that mediator for their time. The first two hours of economic mediation are free, thereafter, the parties pay the mediator on an hourly basis. Generally, the preparation of the mediator for the mediation is the first hour of the free time, the second hour is during the actual mediation before the clock on the mediator's time begins.
Michael Green of Green & Associates has a wealth of experience in economic mediation and will assist you throughout the process, call us at 732-390-0480 in our East Brunswick office or 201-242-1119 in our Fort Lee office to set up an appointment for a free consultation regarding economic mediation and how it fits in your divorce process today! We serve Middlesex, Bergen, Somerset, Monmouth, Union, Mercer and Essex counties.
As preparation for any economic mediation, the mediator obtains from both sides their proposals for settlement and their Case Information Statements and any other materials necessary to mediate the case and inform the mediator as to what the outstanding issues are regarding a possible settlement. Issues of child custody are generally not mediated at economic mediation and those issues are left to court ordered free parenting time and custody mediation, a separate process that occurs early on in litigation. At economic mediation, the economic terms of a divorce are mediated, so the issues of alimony and equitable distribution are the issues that are dealt with by the mediator. Equitable distribution issues encompass the distribution of the marital residence, any other real properties, personal property, businesses, and retirement accounts or pensions. So, 401ks, IRAs, annuities and other tax deferred accounts are also assessed for distribution as part of any settlement.
Economic mediation may take several hours or even be rescheduled for further sessions if the parties are making progress and wish to proceed with the mediation. Generally, the parties will meet together with a mediator and their attorneys and may be caucused thereafter separately while the mediator attempts to deal with each party separately to determine their real concerns as to the issues. If the parties cannot conclude their mediation with a settlement, the parties may be scheduled for an intensive settlement conference with the Court before a trial then takes place.
Very often, economic mediation is successful if the parties have not yet settled the case as the parties have already participated in the discovery process and Early Settlement Panel prior to economic mediation and the issues have been aired in multiple forums. If you wish to learn more about the process of economic mediation and how it may fit in with your divorce process, call us now to set up your free consultation for divorce.