Why Mediation

mediation benefits

*Why Mediation…This does not include consultation with your attorneys or preparation of your Property Settlement Agreement. However, since your attorneys act as legal advisors during the mediation process and don’t have to spend numerous hours preparing for trial as in a contested divorce, your legal fees will be dramatically less. You will generally save at least the expense of one attorney.

Divorce Mediation…The benefits of divorce mediation are powerful and clear:

  • Mediation saves you considerable time and money.
  • Mediation makes you more committed to the agreement since it is you who works through it instead of your attorneys. 
  • Mediation gives you a sense of control over the process and allows you to maintain your dignity. 
  • You—not a judge—determine what is fair distribution of assets/liabilities, spousal support, custody, parenting time, and child support. 
  • Mediation helps you learn to talk to each other, enhancing communication for a more cooperative future relationship, especially in your working partnership as parents. 
  • By applying the principle of fairness, mediation maximizes the benefits for everyone and proportionally distributes the sacrifices.

Divorce Mediation…Communication in Contested Divorce vs. Mediation

mediation diagram

Divorce Mediation…This graphic clearly depicts why mediation is faster, less stressful, and more affordable than contested divorce. In a typical divorce, spouses don’t talk directly with each other, leaving their lawyers to negotiate for them. Mediation breaks down this serious communication barrier and sets the tone for cooperation. With the guidance of a capable mediator, spouses actively work together to reach a fair agreement on the essential issues of support, assets, and parenting.

A mediator will bring process and content expertise to your negotiations. He will move you swiftly and productively toward a mutually agreeable resolution by:

  • Setting an agenda.
  • Starting from areas of agreement to establish a foundation then addressing areas of controversy.
  • Providing relevant information and examples from experience as needed.
  • Averting misunderstandings and clarifying intentions.
  • Helping you see your spouse’s perspective without losing sight of your own position.

Call 201-431-8400 to schedule your FREE New Jersey divorce, divorce mediation or collaborative law introductory consultation. Philip C. Puglisi LLC is a Bergen County, Passaic County and Essex County NJ Divorce Attorney law firm. The family law firm concentrates on: Collaborative Divorce Attorney Services and Divorce Mediation Services by an experienced Divorce Mediator with family law offices in Wyckoff, New Jersey.

Family Law in New Jersey

Family Law…I strongly encourage divorcing couples to consider mediation, collaborative divorce or arbitration but if your situation requires you to proceed with attorneys in a contested divorce*, consider my substantial experience and skills as a NJ family law attorney.

For over 25 years, I have been helping my clients understand and resolve their family law matters in an effective, timely, and affordable manner.

Family Law…My areas of extensive experience include:

  • Divorce
  • Child custody
  • Prenuptial, cohabitation, and property settlement agreements
  • Complex matrimonial issues
  • Domestic violence and temporary restraining orders
  • Post-judgment modification and enforcement

*Clear situations in which mediation is not appropriate include: domestic violence, restraining order, drug/alcohol abuse, extreme bitterness, and/or extreme power imbalance.

To learn more about some of the key issues you’ll need to understand and resolve in the course of your divorce, I’ve provided some useful information in the divorce mediation section of my website, including discussions of custody and parenting, information you’ll need to provide, alimony and child support, and equitable distribution of assets, as well as a list of additional resources. While these discussions are written for those considering mediation as an alternative to contested divorce, the essential points are still entirely relevant.
For more helpful information about divorce, see Divorce Headquarters’ Frequently Asked Questions page.

Call 201-431-8400 to schedule your Free New Jersey divorce, divorce mediation or collaborative law introductory consultation.

What is a Family Law Case Information Statement?

Philip C. Puglisi LLC, a Bergen County divorce lawyer, wants you to know the most important document to be prepared when filing for divorce or filing an Answer to  the Complaint for Divorce is the filing of the required Case Information Statement, (the “CIS”).  The NJ Rules of Court require it to be submitted when going to the first Case Managment Conference. The CIS addresses among other things: the marital history, such as the information as to the date of the marriage, the children’s names, ages and where they are residing; the lifestyle of the marriage; and lists all the assets and liabilities of the marriage. The CIS has seven (7) sections. You will need to prepare for your attorney to review prior to filing: Part C. (the “Income Information”,  where the parties disclose last year’s and the current year’s earned and unearned income; Part D (“Monthly Expenses”), where you must identify, by category and amounts, the monthly expenses while you were living with your spouse and then also list your current expenses. You will have to go through your credit cards and checks to establish these items in order to have it listed in the CIS; and Part E. (the “Balance Sheet of All Family Assets ad Liabilities”).  Philip Puglisi says to garner all this information for when you meet with your attorney. This very important CIS is also needed if a Motion Pendent Lite is filed to obtain maintenance from the other spouse; a freeze on the assets and legal fees if needed. Philip C. Puglisi LLC can not stress the importance of the CIS. The Judge has no knowledge of the marital relationship and the CIS accomplishes this if timely and properly completed filed.

Divorce Mediation Free Consultation

Philip C. Puglisi LLC, a divorce mediation lawyer / attorney in Bergen County, who has an office in Wyckoff, NJ says you can get a free consultation if you wish to use the divorce mediation process to resolve your separation without going to court.  His phone number is 201-431-8400 and for information on the divorce mediation process go to his website at philippuglisilaw.com.  Philip Puglisi says that divorce mediation is the best alternative to getting a divorce if both parties are a candidate for it. You can resolve everything that you would have had to do had you gone the contested divorce route.  Philip Puglisi says divorce mediation is faster, and far less expensive compared to the costly contested divorce with this process and it is best for the family if there are children involved.

Presentation On Interdisciplinary Team

Philip C. Puglisi LLC. a collaborative divorce lawyer in Bergen County, was asked to make a presentation on the interdisciplinary team approach in a collaborative divorce case to the “Mid-Jersey Collaborative Law Alliance” and “when do you start the InterdisciplinaryTeam Approach?  Phil first established what is an interdisciplinary team.  He told them that the team consists of two (2) attorneys, and a neutral: faciliatator/mental health professional, a financial professional and a parent/child specialist when there are children in the family.  All of the members of the interdisciplinary team are collaboratively trained.  Philip then explained the role of the interdisciplinary team, which is to help the parties arrive at an outcome that they think is in the bests interest of their family.  He then explained that the team should start right at the outset of the collaborative case.  Since the team controls the Process and the clients control the Content and Outcome, all the team members need to know what is going on in the case all the time. He explained that the facilatator/mental health neutral helps the paents work out what they think is the best custody and parenting plan for their children, if there are children in the case, and is in every joint session with the parties, as well as when they meet with the financial person to discuss the financial matters to arrive at a settlement, if they do not work it out in the joint sessions.  The financial professional garners all the financial information of the parties to disseminate to the parties and attorneys in order that the parties can work out alimony and child support, if appropriate, and the division of the equitable assets and liabilities of the parties. The neutral child specialist is brought in and meets with the children BEFORE a parenting plan is worked out with the facilatator/mental health neutral. This child specialist is the voice of the children and generally only one or two sessions are needed with the children and the team and parents are then informed of the childrens’ feelings.  Philip then explained that although at first blush it seems like this is very costly process, since there a lot of  people in the case, actually it saves the clients money since they have a neutral who is using their discipline to help the parties work out their concerns at a lower cost rather than two attorneys who will cost considerably more and are not as qualified in those disciplines.  Generally, the clients save over 35% using the interdisciplinary team approach over the litigation process and it is consideraly faster to get divorced.  Philip said that this model, in his opinion, is the best model to use since it lets the parties decide what is best for their family and not the courts. There were 25 people present at the presentation, consisting of lawyers, mental health and financial professionals,  all of whom are collaboratively trained.  After numersous questions the collective agreement was that the interdisciplinary team approach from the beginning is the best way to go.  Some members gave examples of how a case failed since they either didn’t use a nuetral or brought them in too late.  Philip said he felt like “Johnny Appleseed”  spreading the word on the “interdisciplnary team approach from the outset” and thanked the members for asking him to make the presentation and helping him in speading the word.

Caregiver Case

Philip C. Puglisi LLC, a Bergen County divorce lawyer, thought you would be interested in the recent case regarding who can and can not be be a caregiver of a child in NJ.   In “New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. J.S., App. Div. (Sabatino, J.A.D.) (32 pp.) Defendant, a biological father, appeals from the Family Part’s judgment terminating his parental rights as to his minor child following a multi day trial. Among other things, defendant argues that the trial court erred in upholding a decision of the Division of Youth and Family Services to “rule out” two cousins who had expressed interest in serving as alternative caregivers for the child. Affirming the final judgment, we reject defendant’s argument that the division lacks the authority to rule out relatives under N.J.S.A. 30:4C-12.1 based on considerations of a child’s best interests. Instead, we hold that the applicable statutory provisions and a related regulation, N.J.A.C. 10:120A-3.1, allow the division to rule out a relative on such best-interests grounds, regardless of the relative’s willingness or ability to care for a child. However, the division’s rule-out authority is always subject to the Family Part’s ultimate assessment of that child’s best interests. We also uphold the validity of the language in N.J.A.C. 10:120A-3.1(b) prohibiting a relative who the division rules out on best-interests grounds from pursuing an administrative appeal of that agency determination. However, we urge the division to act with reasonable diligence in notifying a potential caretaker that he or she has been ruled out, once the investigation of that person has been completed.”  Phil says people should bear this case in mind: that the best interest of the child applies when determining a caregiver.

Alimony and Cohabitation

Philip C. Puglisi LLC, a Bergen county Divorce Lawyer, wants the payor of alimony to know of the recent case regarding a change in circumstance as it relates to cohabiation and alimony.  A Divorcee, whose Live-in Boy friend perked up lifestyle, loses alimony.  A divorcee’s plush lifestyle provided by her paramour can be considered when her ex seeks alimony reduction, a state appeals court held on Tuesday in a precedential ruling. The Appellate Division, in Reese v. Weis, A-5557-10, turned aside arguments that the gifts and luxuries lavished by the woman’s live-in lover were outside the equation. “We reject this view and hold that the provision of emoluments, which enhance a dependent spouse’s lifestyle, also equate to a tangible economic benefit from the new living arrangement,” the panel held.  At issue in this matter is whether defendant received a substantial economic benefit as a result of her cohabitation, such that alimony should be terminated. They concluded that the inquiry regarding whether an economic benefit arises in the context of cohabitation must consider not only the actual financial assistance resulting from the new relationship, but also may weigh other enhancements to the dependent spouse’s standard of living that directly result from cohabitation. The court  also finds that a trial judge’s exercise of discretion when determining whether to modify or terminate alimony may properly evaluate the duration of the new relationship and assess its similarities to the fidelity associated with marriage.  Bergen county divorce attorney, Philip C. Puglisi LLC, says that payors should see a divorce attorney if they are in a similar circumstance and seek a temination of alimony if that is the case.

Polarization to Collaboration Seminar

A group of other Collaborative divorce attorneys in Bergen County, attended a  seminar presented by Elana Katz, a LCSW. on the subject of “Going from Polarization to Collaboration with your team and the clients”. The major point she wanted all of us collaborative divorce attorneys to walk away with is: “The client always makes sense.”  Before a person can makes a rational decision s/he must get rid of the emotions on the right side of the brain. The left side of the brain is the “thinking and decision making” part.  As collaborative divorce attorneys we must help the client go from the right side of the brain to the left side.  There are no “Bad guys or “good guys” when doing a collaborative divorce. So when doing a collaborative divorce work as a team and respect the other person’s feelings. Do not jump to the conclusion he or she is a good guy or bad guy. We learned that 90% of a communication is “non-verbal”, therefore you need to be careful that you do not emit an emotion non-verbally to your client. You could inadvertently be giving a non-verbal judgment which is your opinion and it is not necessarily your client’s.  It was a great lesson on “what to do and not do” in a collaborative divorce when you are a collaborative divorce attorney in Bergen County.