Confidentiality Of Mediation In Matrimonial/Divorce Cases In New Jersey

In the case of Lehr v. Affilitto, 382 N.J. Super. at 376 (App. Div. 2006), the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey confirmed that mediation proceedings for matrimonial/divorce cases in New Jersey are confidential and that in order to overcome the overriding public policy consideration that favors the parties to resolve their disputes without the need for judicial intervention, there must be an express waiver of the parties or a specific statutory exception to overcome the policy concerns that favor a confidentiality in the mediation process. "Underlying the success of mediation in our court system is the assurance that what is said and done during the mediation process will remain confidential, unless there is an express waiver by all parties or unless the need for disclosure is so great that it substantially outweighs the need for confidentiality. The mediation process was not designed to create another layer of litigation in an already overburdened system." Lehr, 382 N.J. Super. at 391. Anyone contemplating a divorce in the State of New Jersey should be mindful of the fact that there remains a strong public policy maintaining the confidentiality in mediation proceedings.

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