- January 29, 2015
- Posted by: Lee A. Schwartz, Esquire
- Category: Monthly Newsletters
The litigation of a Divorce Matter in Court is anything but private. Court files, located in each County’s Court Clerk’s office, are public records. Rarely, and only in the most sensitive of cases, are Divorce records sealed, Sealing a file means that only certain designated people can gain access to the records in a divorce matter.
The records in a Divorce, if there are property issues, often include copies of appraisals on business interest and/or real estate, bank and brokerage statements, credit card and debt statements and appraisals of other valuable property, such as jewelry, artwork, collections and the like. All of these records are left in a Court file in the Clerk’s office.
On the other hand, while the same records are part of a Mediated Divorce, those records remain in the Mediator’s office and go no further. They are not left in a place with public access to these sensitive documents.
Further, in a litigated divorce, all testimony is taken down, either by hand or electronically, by a Court stenographer. This testimony can become a written record and also left in the Court file for years to come. Testimony in divorce cases can be extremely sensitive and potentially embarrassing.
In a Mediated Divorce, there is no stenographer, there is no tape recording and there is no written record of testimony. Potentially sensitive revelations, including, in some instances, facts which may potentially be criminal in nature, are private and confidential. These are not subject to public disclosure.
At the beginning of each Mediation, the mediator will advise the parties that everything said, and all documents presented, are absolutely confidential. The only exceptions to that confidentiality is in the event a person makes a statement indicating that the person plans on harming another person, another person’s property or themselves. These exceptions will be more fully explained by a trained mediator at the beginning of the process.
If you are seeking to resolve your differences in a comfortable, peaceful and confidential setting, Mediation may be the right choice for you or someone else you know. Please feel free to contact me to discuss this alternative to litigation. Remember, if at all possible, Mediate…don’t Litigate.
Remember, Divorce is not the only area of Family Law that parties mediate. Custody is also often mediated. Issues such as
∙ Custody Schedules, also known as Parenting Time
∙ Vacation Schedules
∙ Holidays and Special Days
∙ Activities and Activities
∙ Methods of Communication, and other issues are often resolved through Mediation.
Remember, if at all possible, Mediate….don’t Litigate.