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How to “Get to Yes” When Mediating a Divorce in the State of New Jersey


The goal of any two married people who are considering divorce in New Jersey or anywhere should be a mediated settlement agreement, especially when there are children involved. There are three basic guidelines that should be utilized to resolve and/or manage any matrimonial dispute; every successful negotiation should involve empathy, transparency and patience. The parties must understand one another’s needs and actually want to resolve their dispute with one another in an informal setting where they can voluntarily exchange information and candidly speak with one another to determine whether or not a given settlement proposal is reasonable. There must accordingly be empathy, transparency and patience to settle issues in a divorce; whether by mediation, direct settlement negotiations and/or with assistance of their attorneys, accountants and/or financial planners.

Other than recognizing this underlying need for empathy, transparency and patience, the parties and/or their attorneys should also focus on the below-itemized steps when mediating and/or seeking to resolve their disputes. These steps are as follows:

1. Parties should separate “the people involved” from “the problem involved”;

2. Parties should focus on their interests rather than their ego-driven fear-based positions;

3. Parties should generate options from/for their mutual gain; they should creatively brainstorm to develope a list of potential interest-based settlement options; and

4. Parties should utilize objective criteria to help the parties make choices/resolve their differences utilizing the options developed cooperatively.

Active listening and empathy should ideally help inform the parties that they’re “both in this thing together” and that their mutual problem (i.e., their divorce) will be far less of a problem if they can each resolve their differences without the undue costs and acrimony of litigation. They will demonstrating emotional intelligence, saving money and, perhaps most importantly, demonstrating to their children, family and friends that they have more love for them then they do hatred or fear of their ex-spouse.

Let there be peace in the world; and let it begin with me…

I am the sum of all my actions…

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