The Answer is: Mediation By Marla Marinucci, Esq., MBA As I write this article, we are about a year and a half into this pandemic and by all accounts, it seems inevitable that mask mandates may, unfortunately, be a thing once again. Another round of shutdowns could also be looming on the horizon. What previously appeared to be a step in the right direction at the beginning of the pandemic, as there seemed to be a trend of separated/ divorced parents working better together to co-parent since the schools and daycares were closed and children still needed to be cared for and supervised; to now, more than a year later, where the coronavirus is being used more as a shield and excuse to prevent one parent’s parenting time by the other party for usually no other reason than: just because. Additionally, the various stimulus checks that have been issued by the U.S. Government have created such pandemonium for family lawyers, resulting in this family lawyer being busier than ever. Truth be told, however, it is not the kind of “busy” that is desired, but it has definitely taught me a very important lesson. If anything, this pandemic has made it crystal clear that resolving your family law dispute via alternate dispute resolution (ADR) makes way more sense than the so-called traditional way, which involves: 1) Filing a complaint for divorce (or other similar application); 2) Waiting with excitement for the notification that your soon-to-be ex has been served with the summons and complaint by a sheriff’s officer or other process server (and finding out just how surprised and mad they were to learn you filed for divorce); 3) Waiting for your day in court because you are absolutely certain that the court will chastise your horrible soon to be ex-spouse and admonish them for being a terrible spouse and parent, and that because of this, they must immediately move out of the house that you share; pay all your bills; pay your attorney’s fees plus an additional retainer for your lawyer; and pay additional support to you, as well as monetary sanctions for being such an awful human being. Newsflash: That Never Happens. As much as people think that their day in court will bring them some huge victory because they sincerely believe that once a judge hears their story, that judge will rule 101% in their favor; and 101% against the other party: this is not reality. While judges are there to serve the public and make decisions based on facts and the law, they are overloaded with multiple cases at the same time. I was recently
before a local judge who mentioned during the hearing that at that time, he was handling 500 cases. You don’t have to be a judge or even a lawyer to know that is just crazy. This is where mediation comes in: • Imagine having control over your schedule and not being held to dates set by the Court. • Imagine having control over how fast or slow you want your matter to proceed. • Imagine having consecutive days of mediation/arbitration instead of going to trial where you may have a few sporadic days of trial in the course of 6 months or more. • Imagine saving substantial amounts of money on attorney’s fees. Opting for mediation, for example, instead of litigation has these, and many more benefits. ADR, such as mediation, is very common in most every other county in New Jersey, especially the northern ones, and is eventually finding its place in Cape May and Atlantic Counties. Without a doubt, mediation will eventually become the norm, and not the exception. Mediation is the use of a third party neutral (an experienced family lawyer) who reviews information from the parties and makes a recommendation to help the parties settle. It is an extremely effective way for cases to reach settlement without the need to ever go to court. The process itself is informal and very flexible; there are no rules of evidence or witnesses; it is a confidential process; and it is generally quick and far less costly than the litigation route. Most importantly, it not only gives parties the greatest control over their settlement, it preserves their relationships whereas litigation can get very ugly and more often than not, relationships are forever destroyed. I am a formally trained mediator and arbitrator. I am currently in the process of transitioning my law practice where I will eventually spend the majority of my time as a mediator or arbitrator of family law disputes and less time in the courtroom. All these years of litigation for me, and many of my colleagues as well, has taught me that litigation should be the last resort. If anything, for the sake of your children and preserving your relationship with your child’s other parent, consider this alternative to litigation. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
For more information, please contact my firm.
Today’s Families Face Many Challenges...
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RUSSELL & MARINUCCI S
117 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean City, NJ 08226 • CALL: (609) 398-1900 Fax: (609) 398-7292 • Email: marinucci@OCNJfamilylaw.com Marla Marinucci, Esq., MBA
Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney
Marla Marinucci, Esq., MBA, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has been certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney. Her primary focus is Family law matters. She received a B.A. in French from Rutgers Camden; received her law degree from Rutgers School of Law Camden; and recently graduated with her M.B.A. from Rutgers Camden School of Business
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