I just read an insightful article in the Washington Post. The article, by Susan Berger, asks the question: “What’s the best way to talk to someone with Alzheimer’s?” It stems from an encounter between Berger and an acquaintance of hers who had just been diagnosed with the disease. The article explores what to do and.. read more →

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will present at the 2016 CONFERENCE ON GUARDIANSHIP given by the Guardianship Association of New Jersey, Inc. (GANJI) on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, NJ Contested guardianships typically involve disputes among adult siblings concerning the safety, living arrangements, autonomy and financial management of.. read more →

Following the death of Kenneth Kanter, his son contested the validity of Mr. Kanter’s will and several quitclaim deeds Mr. Kanter had purportedly executed. These documents were drafted and/or prepared by the decedent’s brother, Sidney Kanter, who is a suspended New Jersey attorney. The parties mediated the case and reached a settlement of the matter… read more →

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a settlement that is reached at mediation but not reduced to a written agreement signed by the parties before the mediation ends will not be enforceable. Willingboro Mall v Franklin Ave LLC, Docket No. A-62-11 (N.J., August 15, 2013) Willingboro Mall, LTD (Willingboro), the owner of the Willingboro.. read more →

Thomas v. Thomas, Docket No. A-2388-11T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. June 4, 2013), involved competing claims against a $1 million life insurance policy maintained by the decedent. Mr. Thomas was survived by a wife, as well as an ex-wife, with whom he had 2 children. Pursuant to the Property Settlement Agreement (“PSA”) between Mr. Thomas.. read more →

On Saturday, April 27, 2013, I presented a session on the impact of elder law issues on divorce mediation at the 2013 Annual Divorce Mediation Seminar by the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators. The topics covered in my session included Social Security, including retirement, disability and survivors benefits, Supplemental Security Income benefits, Medicare, Medicaid,.. read more →

New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators (NJAPM), a statewide, non-profit professional organization dedicated to fostering excellence in the field of mediation, has launched a reduced-rate mediation clinic for divorcing couples to resolve the issues in their divorce while providing training for new mediators. Eligible couples will have their divorce mediated professionally and confidentially at a.. read more →

A state appeals court ruled that a will contestant waived the mediation privilege, prohibiting disclosure of mediation communications to non-participants, when both he and his opponent authorized the mediator to inform the trial judge of the results of the mediation. Rutigliano v. Rutigliano, Docket No. A-2797-11T1 (App. Div., October 15, 2012) Plaintiff Vincent Rutigliano and.. read more →

In this case, the chancery court held that post-mediation correspondence between the attorneys for the parties allegedly memorializing the terms of a verbal settlement reached in mediation constituted confidential mediation communications, not subject to disclosure. Partners Pharmacy Services v. Halbert, Docket No. C-72-09 (Chan. Div., Union County, April 16, 2012) The parties in this case.. read more →

In Beim v. Sawyer (N.J. App. Div. A-2816-10T1, decided on February 29, 2012), defendant, in her 70s, filed for a divorce from plaintiff, in his 80s. After the complaint and answer were filed and discovery completed, the parties made repeated efforts to settle their dispute through multiple alternative dispute resolution events held over an extended period. They.. read more →

In Williamson v. Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals (N.J. App. Div., March 12, 2012), the New Jersey appellate court advised mediating parties how to prevent successful post-mediation challenges to settlements reached in mediation. The court’s conclusion: don’t conclude the mediation without having the parties or their counsel draft and sign a document containing the essential terms of the.. read more →

Our Estate/Probate and Elder Mediation Training program, held yesterday at the New Jersey Law Center, was very successful. Excellent turn-out and program quality. The attendees were very diverse, including attorneys, care managers, social workers, financial professionals, medical providers and others. Wonderful audience feedback. Many thanks to all presenters, including geriatric care managers Judith Parnes, Connie.. read more →

Established in 1978, the New Jersey Mental Health Players Program (NJMHP), celebrating its 34th year, is the longest-running mental health education program in New Jersey. NJMHP provides interactive, educational sessions which depict realistic scenarios involving mental health issues. The sessions provide audiences with a dynamic way to receive basic education about mental illness and become.. read more →

In its January 27, 2012 decision in  CTC Demolition Company, Inc. v. GMH AETC Management/Development LLC, which has been approved for publication, the Appellate Division considered the novel issue of whether a party’s demand for mediation or arbitration triggers the “first to file” rule. Notably, the court had found only one decision in any jurisdiction.. read more →

In the January 4, 2012 Marinaccio v. Grgec decision, the Appellate Division was presented with an appeal of a probate matter that had been decided by an umpire under the New Jersey Alternate Procedure for Dispute Resolution Act (“APDRA”). The Appellate Division held that, after the umpire’s decision not to vacate a probate settlement agreement.. read more →

Family and divorce mediation is a process in which a mediator, an impartial third party, facilitates the resolution of family disputes by promoting the participants’ voluntary agreement. The Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation are the product of an effort by mediation-interested organizations and individuals to create a unified set of standards.. read more →

Keeping the Peace Through Elder Mediation Training Schedule Registration and Breakfast 1. Introduction (Donald Vanarelli) Elder Mediation in New Jersey NJAPM Special Interest Section Goals of Training Session Housekeeping items 2. “Setting the Stage” (Theater Group/Gabrielle Strich/Benni Versaci) 3. What is Elder Mediation? (Donald Vanarelli) Goals of Elder Mediation Overview of Presenting Issues in Elder.. read more →

(The Fall 2011 issue of Mediation News, the newsletter of the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators (NJAPM), contains a short article on NJAPM’s newly-formed Estate and Elder Mediation Special Interest Group. The article is reproduced below. If you have an interest in this emerging practice area, please contact me or simply come to a.. read more →

A law firm accused of malpractice for allegedly turning down a settlement offer lost its bid to compel a federal mediator to testify about settlement negotiations between the parties at the mediation. McKissock & Hoffman, P.C. v. Waldron, Civil Action No. 10-7108 (E.D. PA, August 4, 2011) This federal district court case grew out of.. read more →

An appellate court in New Jersey recently enforced an oral settlement agreement reached during non-binding, confidential mediation even though the agreement was not reduced to writing immediately. Willingboro Mall Ltd. v. 240/242 Franklin Avenue Associates LLC In this case, the plaintiff and defendants were commercial real estate entities and persons involved in management of the.. read more →

There are so few reported cases in New Jersey involving claims of mediator malpractice that any cases involving such claims are important. In Jankowski v. Sandor, Docket No. A-0770-10T2 (App. Div., July 27, 2011), the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, affirmed the dismissal of the mediator malpractice claims based upon choice of law.. read more →

(The following is part of a discussion, taken from a listserv, or electronic bulletin board, maintained by the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.) Question: I am a new mediator. I am also finding the ‘equal balance of power’ issue challenging. … I have been wondering if balance of power is even possible … if.. read more →

A New Jersey appellate court held that intentionally withholding information in mediation does not invalidate the resulting settlement agreement. Matter of the Estate of Lillian L. Fischer, Deceased (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., No. A-0091-10T2, June 14, 2011)(unpublished). This matter involved a probate dispute between Catherine S. Richards, the 91 year old domestic partner of.. read more →

Couples who are facing the difficult prospect of divorce have a critical decision to make: whether to pursue the divorce using the “traditional” litigation model; or whether to consider an alternative model, such as divorce mediation. Arriving at the correct decision should include an analysis of the potential costs of traditional litigation. The most obvious cost.. read more →

Mediation is generally recognized as a process in which parties in conflict (often on their own, but sometimes represented by separate attorneys) attempt to negotiate a settlement of their dispute with the assistance of a neutral third party, the mediator (who may or may not be an attorney, but who does not represent either party)… read more →