A Case For Divorce Mediation in Vineland NJ
Bohdan Zachariasevych - January 5, 2016
This is a sample divorce mediation case study for illustrative purposes only.
John and Kate have been married for 16 years and own a nice home in a comfortable Vineland, New Jersey neighborhood. They have two teenaged children who are doing well in school. John has a stable job at a growing South Jersey company. Kate works plenty of overtime in the healthcare field.
To most people, John and Kate appear to have a successful, fulfilling life together. But over the years, spending much of their time working apart, their interests and personal goals have changed. They now find themselves heading in different directions. Beyond taking care of their children, they don’t have much in common anymore. Privately, they have been attending marital counselling for over a year; trying to rekindle their relationship. Their differences are starting to cause emotional conflicts between them, and there's a growing feeling of resentment, especially from Kate.
Kate was up late one night while John was working a night shift. She felt more at peace without him there. It gave her a sense of freedom and, while she cared about John and worried about the effects divorce might have on her children, she knew spending her life trying to make it work wasn’t what she wanted. She opened her laptop and, with a slight sense of disbelief, typed in a search on the internet... “getting divorced in new jersey”. A lot of divorce websites turned up, and she found that there were basically four types of divorce processes in New Jersey: litigation, arbitration, mediation and collaboration.
Divorce litigation was the most expensive option, which, to Kate, seemed to be best suited for couples who were hell bent on making the other party suffer, and she did not like the fact that the divorce outcome was solely up to a judge. Kate was also disturbed that, with divorce litigation, their divorce documents and divorce trial would be open to the public!
Arbitration on the other hand sounded a little better because it would provide more control over how the divorce terms could be structured. But, after reading about divorce mediation, she decided arbitration could be a fall-back plan depending on how John reacted to things. Divorce mediation would provide John and Kate a chance to sit down with a divorce mediation attorney to discuss the situation. They could create a financial plan, determine the best way to divide up their possessions and debts, and, most importantly, figure out the best way to take care of their kids without jeopardizing their well-being. She also liked the benefits of a collaborative-style divorce where the divorce mediator invites other professionals, such as a financial expert or a family psychologist, to the table in order to help with the overall divorce plan.
After getting a better understanding of the New Jersey divorce processes, Kate refined her search to “divorce mediation lawyers in south jersey” and visited several mediation attorney websites. The following day, she took a break at work. While sitting in her car, she called one of the divorce firms she had found and set up a divorce mediation consultation, in order to explain her situation and get feedback from a divorce attorney.
Fast forward several days. Kate nervously walks into the divorce attorney’s waiting room. She’s greeted by a pleasant receptionist who helps put her at ease a little. The mediation attorney comes out to invite her into the consultation room. They sit down in a comfortable and private environment, and she explains how she feels and her concerns. The attorney gives her some feedback and guidance on how she might want to approach the situation which puts her further at ease.
On the way to their Saturday morning marriage counselling session, Kate asks John if he thinks these sessions will ever do them any good. John feels a warm rush of anxiety. He looks over at Kate. She goes on to tell him she has spoken to a mediator and would like it if the two of them could sit down and talk to him about a divorce. The mention of a divorce completely blind sides John. He knew things weren’t the best, but did not think they were bad enough to end it all. John pulls the car over, and the two get into a heated argument. Eventually, John turns the car around, and they drive home in silence. Parked in their driveway, Kate hands John the card of the law firm she visited and explains that the divorce mediator would like to speak with him one on one. She then says, otherwise, she’s decided to file divorce papers. John throws the card at the dashboard and tells Kate to get out. He backs up and screeches off down the road.
John pulls into a local park. He's confused and frustrated. He spends some time just thinking over everything. He considers calling a friend on his cell, but doesn't want to break down. Hoping to make sense of things, he decides to google on his phone “what if my wife wants a divorce” and starts to read forums of people giving advice on what to do if your spouse wants a divorce. He finds that many people have posted about their own experiences going through the divorce process. Some of the stories on divorce litigation involving child custody and harsh alimony payments really stress him out. But, at the same time, reading the stories of other people in the same kind of situation as himself, in a way, provides a little comfort in knowing he’s not alone. People change, and relationships are difficult for everyone. John comes to the conclusion that, if this really happens, his biggest concerns are his personal finances and that his kids will be okay in the long run. John decides that he'll at least go talk to this mediation attorney to tell his side of the situation and see what he says.
Over the course of ten mediation sessions during a 4-month period, John and Kate were able to talk about their situation while sitting at the same table. When the discussion got off topic or tempers started to flare, their mediator was there to calm them down and bring the focus back. John and Kate were able to figure out a financial plan, sort out child custody and parenting duties, and find a positive level of compromise that allowed for their personal freedom while maintaining quality relationships with their kids.
Every divorce situation is unique. As a Family Law and Divorce Mediation Attorney in the Millville, Vineland, Bridgeton area, I’ve helped many couples in South Jersey create positive compromises through divorce mediation. If you're considering a divorce, please feel free to get in touch with me. Sitting down for a consultation with your spouse, or by yourself, can shed a lot of light on the subject as it pertains to your particular case. 856-825-0700
Thank you for taking the time to read this example case study.
Bohdan Zachariasevych, Esq.
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