(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 Div., No. A-0091-10T2, June 14, 2011)(unpublished).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 →

What Is Collaborative Law? Collaborative law is an emerging dispute resolution technique in which each party retains a lawyer, but the lawyers pledge not to resort to the courts (or threaten to do so) to resolve issues. If the collaborative technique is unsuccessful, the lawyers must withdraw, and the parties start over through litigation. How.. read more →

The New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators (NJAPM) is an association of professionals engaged in the practice of dispute resolution through mediation. The mission of NJAPM is to (1) foster public awareness of mediation, (2) provide information to the public about mediators, (3) protect the public through standards of conduct for NJAPM mediators, and (4).. read more →

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal provides an overview of Elder Mediation that may be interesting to readers of this blog. According to the article, Elder Mediation is taking off as a profession “as baby boomers seek help with aging parents.” From the article, I derived a good, one sentence description of what Elder.. read more →

Problem:     Communication / Negotiation Issues Example:    Siblings’ long-standing mistrust of each other prevents them from putting differences aside and focusing on the needs of the aging parent. Solution:    Address the underlying issues and explain the need to put anger / mistrust aside to effectively assist the parent. Emphasize common goals and positives in the.. read more →

Convening a mediation involves getting often recalcitrant parties to participate in the mediation. It is both absolutely critical to the mediation process and often the most difficult part of resolving a dispute. Convening a mediation, when fewer than all the parties have requested mediation, as is often the case, is a mediation itself. The process.. read more →

When a couple decides to divorce, the spouses have important choices to make about how to proceed and the extent to which they will need help from others — including lawyers, mediators, and other professionals. Some couples choose to file for divorce in court and go on to lengthy, high-conflict divorce litigation. Others choose an.. read more →

Two recent non-NJ courts have taken a look at what constitutes “good faith” by a party ordered into mediation, with different outcomes hinging on weather the court viewed the actions of the mediator in reporting a party’s conduct in mediation as a breach of confidentiality. Anthony vs. Andrews, 2009-Ohio-6378 – In this Ohio medical malpractice.. read more →

Here’s a memorable sentence: “Nobody can relate to the raw, visceral experience of ending a marriage better than someone who has gone through it.” Amen to that. Based on that insight, the NY Times published an article this past Sunday entitled “Experienced in Love and Money” which summarized advice from financial experts about what they.. read more →

The Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey (EMC-NJ), a collaborative alliance of elder law mediators / attorneys, Tony Serra, Nina Weiss and Donald D. Vanarelli, and geriatric care manager Marcie Cooper; recently held a training session in the specialized field of elder mediation. The training was held on November 10, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. –.. read more →

Recent cases illustrate two important legal principals involving the right to resolve family disputes in New Jersey by voluntary, alternative dispute resolution procedures, such as arbitration and mediation, rather than trial. Our courts have held that parents have a fundamental and constitutionally protected liberty interest in raising their children, which includes the right to submit.. read more →

Chief Justice Rabner has issued an order which approves amendments to the NJ Court Rules effective 9-1-09.  The changes to the Court Rules can be found here: Amendments to the NJ Court Rules Some of the rules pertaining to the Court Mediation Program have been modified.  They include: Provisions for the mediator to recoup any.. read more →

A recent article in the August 2009 edition of the American Bar Association (ABA) Journal (found here) identified mediation as a legal practice area that is thriving in these recessionary times. The article stated that businesses and private individuals seeking to avoid the high cost of litigation in the present economic downturn have turned to.. read more →

The Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey (EMC-NJ), a collaborative alliance of independent mediators, attorneys and a geriatric care manager, will present a training session for mediators who wish to expand their knowledge of the specialized field of elder mediation. The training session, to be held on November 10, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00.. read more →

According to an article in the July 6th edition of Crain’s Chicago Business, the recession has been a boost for mediation firms as companies try to cut litigation costs. The article listed a number of reasons for the growth of mediation: The trend to mediate more types of disputes. The expansion of mediation to resolve.. read more →

The Wall Street Journal published an article today discussing the increasing number of couples separating and divorcing as a result of financial hardship brought on by the recession. Yet, according to the Journal, the recession also is causing some unhappy couples to rethink their marital situation, since a costly divorce would only further deplete already-shrunken.. read more →

Elder conflicts typically involve disputes among adult siblings about issues surrounding an aging parent’s changing care needs and medical treatment; the independence issues that accompany the aging process, including housing and living arrangements; and issues regarding financial management and the elder’s estate plan. Caregiving/Healthcare Issues How will the family members divide responsibility for the elder’s.. read more →

Here is a recent discussion thread on a mediation listserv concerning the effect of an affair on a marriage today. Q – I find that far fewer couples than I expected come to divorce mediation because of an affair. I wonder if that is true for you as well? For those of you who litigate.. read more →

In a recent survey, 68% of Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA) contacted from across the country indicated that they have clients who could not afford to get divorced because of recession-related financial problems, with 63% of responding CDFA saying that the number has increased since the previous year. The professionals surveyed believe this will result.. read more →

The founders of the Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey (EMCNJ) presented a program entitled “Elder Mediation: An Ethical Approach,” at the ABA’s Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference held in New York City on April 16th. The founders of the Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey are: Marcie Cooper, Marcie Cooper Care Management LLC,.. read more →

The issue of capacity is a critical threshold issue in the elder mediation process. The legal standard for determining “capacity” varies, depending upon the transaction in issue. For example, testamentary capacity (the capacity to make a valid will), is said to exist if, at the time the will is made, the testator is able to.. read more →

John M. Haynes, one of the founders of modern mediation practice, postulated basic tenets of mediation which are useful to recall when mediating a difficult case: The mediator is the manager of the participants’ negotiations. The participants control the content while the mediator controls the process of the mediation. However, the mediator should take a.. read more →