Domestic Violence and Mediation
Mediation and Domestic Violence Attorneys Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Domestic violence includes physical violence, psychological, emotional and financial abuse, sexual violence, stalking by an intimate partner.
Domestic violence in a relationship can be devastating, especially if your child’s mother or father is the perpetrator. Many times, victims file a final restraining order (“FRO”) pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act against their abusers, which may include no contact or no communication provisions. The victim must show the abuser committed the domestic violence acts and the FRO is needed for the victim’s protection. Eventually, the victim may consider divorcing his/her abuser, which can lead to further complications.
History of Domestic Violence in a Divorce Mediation
Courts in New Jersey recognize that some abusers may have an unhealthy obsession with controlling their significant others and may not even stop despite having an FRO in place. That is why New Jersey law strictly prohibits mediation of divorces in these types of cases. This type of divorce case should be handled by the parties’ attorneys or should proceed directly to court. Language in the property settlement agreement (“PSA”) should be carefully crafted, especially if parties have children, in order to minimize contact if there has been a history of violence amongst the parties.
What if there was not a history of domestic violence at the time of divorce?
What if there was not a history of domestic violence at the time of divorce? Parents should still be mindful of what they include in the PSA, especially if there was a high conflict in the divorce or one of the parties had anger issues. Recently, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division was asked whether an ex-wife, also a victim of domestic violence (subsequent to a divorce action), should be required to engage in mediation to resolve post-divorce issues with her abuser ex-husband? On April 1, 2015, the court ruled in favor of the ex-wife who appealed from a post-judgment order from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Union County (“lower court”) requiring her to mediate post-divorce disputes with her ex-husband (who had a domestic violence restraining order entered against him after they were divorced).
In this case, the parties divorced in 2009. Their PSA required them to mediate all disputes before engaging in litigation. In 2010, ex-wife obtained an FRO against the ex-husband. The parties returned back to the lower court several times regarding monies the father owed mother for child support, au pair and school expenses, medical bills, and extra-curricular costs. Each time they returned, the lower court ordered them to engage in mediation and email communications to resolve disputes. The court reversed the lower court’s September 6, 2013 order and sent the case back down for hearing with instructions to omit the communication and mediation provisions in the PSA if the FRO was still in effect.
Mediation, Divorce, and Gauging the Threat of Domestic Abuse in New Jersey
As mediation becomes more common in the court system, and as the widespread nature of domestic violence becomes more apparent, the appropriateness of mediation in domestic
abuse cases has become an issue of increasing national importance. As mediators and court staff make every effort to determine the level of domestic abuse and the capacity of the parties to mediate, and will commonly implement adjustments to the mediation process in order to enhance safety in cases with domestic abuse, it is imperative to engage the knowledge and experience of a seasoned Divorce Mediator in order to protect your rights, yourself, and your family.
Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney protecting your rights
Please contact The Bronzino Law Firm, located in Brick, New Jersey at (732) 812-3102 for an initial free consultation if you are contemplating filing for divorce or have unresolved post-judgment issues. The qualified New Jersey Divorce Attorney serves the surrounding communities, including Ocean County and Monmouth County. We look forward to providing you with superior representation!