Q: Can my husband and I get a pro-bono lawyer in Morris Co., NJ for mediation for divorce if it's expected to take more
then 2 hours. When we had the mediation settlement panel thru the court, one of the attorneys was pushing for mediation and said it would probably cost over $5,000 and would take more than a few hours. We don't have alot of money or assets, in fact we were told from the beginning we can't afford a divorce. Are there any attorneys who will do a mediation to completion for a woman who feels she's being bullied by her husband and not listened to by others?
A: I have been a divorce lawyer for the past 36 years and it doesn't sound like the issue is the cost of the mediators involvement. Rather, it sounds like the issue is your husbands bullying and pressure tactics. The bigger problem for you is that mediation is a confidential process. The court only gets to know the outcome of mediation if its successful. Neither party has the right to tell the court that he / she agreed with the mediator and the other party was unreasonable and the mediator has no authority to pressure either party into a deal; which means that regardless of the cost of the mediation, it sounds like your husband will only agree to a voluntary deal if he agrees with the terms. If the mediator recommends a deal that your husband does not like, it sounds like he will reject it, thinking that the mediator made a mistake or simply wrong and then you are out more money and still accomplished nothing. You may be better off speaking with a young associate in a family law firm, whose hourly rate is less expensive and whose retainer may be less as well and move forward with a divorce matter instead of continuing to waste money on a process doomed to fail, unless you are willing to simply give in and give your husband exactly what he wants.
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