Cipriano Law Offices, P.C.

Call 973-852-3346

Understanding the difference between mediation and arbitration

Most people living in Passaic County and Essex County in New Jersey know that there is currently a stay in place for all divorce proceedings. What does that mean, exactly? For couples who know their marriage is over, this stay means that traditional, court-based divorces are not an option.

Thankfully, there are options for ending a marriage that don't involve New Jersey family courts. More couples are looking to mediation as an option to ending an unhappy marriage. The idea of mediation can confuse many, as people often don't understand the difference between mediation and arbitration. The two are very different from one another. Mediation is empowering, giving couples complete control over the process. Arbitration is entirely different and more similar to the standard divorce process.

Arbitration gives all the power to a third party

Like in a court room where the judge is in control, the assigned arbitrator holds all the power during the arbitration process. Both sides present evidence and testimony. The arbitrator then reviews this information and makes a decision. Typically, these decisions are legally binding. For couples divorcing, arbitration is much the same as having a judge decide critical issues like custody, support and asset division.

While the arbitrator is typically a neutral third party, it can be frustrating to be in a situation where someone else has all the power. Many times both parties in an arbitration situation are unhappy with the outcome, which they had no control over.

Mediation empowers the couple to make decisions

Like arbitration, mediation involves the help of a neutral third party. The major difference is that a mediator is there to help you and your spouse work through issues, compromise and reach mutually agreeable decisions about critical issues. A mediator can lead the process, intervene if emotions get high and help both parties find a way to compromise.

However, the mediator does not have the power to make decisions. All decision-making power rests with the couple undergoing mediation. If you can put aside emotional issues and focus on practical concerns, you and your former spouse can use mediation to complete a divorce while the courts are not hearing divorce cases. You can also use this process to find a workable compromise for both your asset division and custody concerns.

Mediation can help with future co-parenting

Those with no children can dissolve their marriage and move on with their lives. Those with minor children, however, will have to interact with one another regularly for years. Mediation can help you and your spouse address some of your issues. This can make it easier for you to interact as co-parents after your divorce get finalized. Once you have resolved the issues or found a way to move past them, you will likely be able to maintain a healthier relationship with your former spouse.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Best Readers Choice Awards Of Essex | 2018
  • IACP | International Academy of Collaborative Professionals NAFLA | Top Ten Rating | 2014
  •  Super lawyer | Melissa Cipriano
  • Super lawyer | Top 100 | New Jersey
  • Super lawyer | Top 50 Women | New Jersey
  • 10 Best 2016 | Client Satisfaction | 10 Best Female Attorney
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb | Top Attorney Divorce Avvo | Client choice 2015 | Divorce

Melissa Cipriano: Honored as a "Best of New Jersey Among our Most Distinguished Americans of Italian Descent" and conferred the "Stivale D'Italia Award of Excellence" by the Italian Tribune for her "honesty, integrity and dedication to fair and ethical business practices" and her "outstanding reputation as a Woman Whose Word is Her Bond".

*See methodology for inclusion at the websites listed: Super Lawyers, NAFLA, AIOFLA, and AVVO. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Email Us For A Response

Contact Cipriano Law Offices, P.C.

To learn more about our Essex County divorce and family lawyers, you may email us or call 973-852-3346 to schedule an initial consultation.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

This site uses Google's Invisible reCAPTCHA, which is subject to Google's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.


175 Fairfield Avenue
Suite 4C/D
West Caldwell, NJ 07006

Toll Free: 800-646-0731
Phone: 973-852-3346
Fax: 973-403-8610
West Caldwell Law Office Map

Make a Payment