Bonnie Blume Goldsamt, MA, JD, APM, SM
When I first started practicing law, I worked at a large firm and handled lots of court cases. After representing clients in family and business matters for many years, the thrill of winning wore off. It dawned on me that litigation was very costly, not only in terms of time an money, but the most painful, stressful and least satisfying process imaginable. Cases were taking too long and costing too much and clients, despite great efforts, did not always get what they wanted from the Court. Eventually, I began to think that “there had to be a better way for people to resolve disputes.” In 1990, I. became an early advocate and prime mover of conflict resolution (including mediation and arbitration) in New Jersey. Today my practice focuses on, but is not limited to mediation, arbitration and collaborative dispute resolution (see below). My clients find this to be faster, less stressful and much more affordable. Moreover, people who participate in processes, such as mediation and collaborative law, appreciate it as a private, compassionate and dignified way to divorce.
You are invited to an introductory consultation in my offices in Bergen County or in Essex County.
Mediation is the process where an impartial, unbiased facilitator (“neutral”) assists the parties in resolving conflict. It is a sane, rational approach to problem solving. Mediation is confidential and private. Confidentiality is important because it creates an atmosphere for open and candid discussion. The mediator helps the parties to define issues, gather facts and information and develop options to create a settlement that is satisfactory and works for the parties. In mediation all agreements are made by the parties and are not imposed by the court or a third party. Mediation is less costly and time consuming than litigation. Bonnie practices divorce mediation as well as civil and business mediation.
Collaborative Divorce is a process by which parties working with counsel and other helping professionals, sharing information, reach a mutually agreeable settlement through conferences and discussions.he parties, along with their attorneys, mental health professionals and financial specialists seek a more constructive model based on mutual respect.
Collaborative Practice is a reasonable approach to divorce based on three principles:
Although both mediation and collaborative divorce are similar forms of alternate dispute resolution, there is a difference. In divorce mediation the spouses negotiate on their own behalf. The attorneys stay in the background, giving advice and counsel from time to time, as needed; and review the final agreement. In collaborative law practice, the parties and their separate attorneys meet openly together and come up with solutions as a group effort.
If there is total lack of trust, imbalance of power in the relationship which cannot be overcome, domestic violence, or an extremely high level of emotion, litigation may be the necessary option. Litigation is expensive and schedules are dictated by the Court. Litigation usually takes longer and affords little privacy.
Litigation may be necessary where a reluctant spouse refuses to paricipate in negotiations unless he/she is compelled to do so by the Court.
If there is an emergency , which cannot be otherwise resolved, whether regarding children, support, or immediare or irreparable dissipation of assets, or if you believe you cannot negotiate with your spouse through mediation or collaborative divorce, then litigation may be your only alternative.
In litigation, each party is represented by separate attorneys, who will seek to advance your position and your interests. The adversarial process includes filing of the complaint for divorce or ansering the complaint, information exchange call discovery, preparation of lengthy status and Case Information Statements, case management conferences with the Court and applications to the court to resolve issues. It should be noted that taking tough positions does not guarantee more favorable settlement or more favorable deciions from a judge.
You should also know that today in New Jersey less than 1% of all divorce cases actually ever go to trial. I strongly encourage divorcing couples to conside mediation or collaborative divorce as a better way to divorce. However, your situation may require you to proceed with a contested divorce. If you decide to go this route, please consider my substantial skills in family law matters with over 30 years of practice in the field.
Bonnie Blume Goldsamt has been teaching mediation at the New Jersey Institute For Continuing Legal Education for over 10 years. She has also conducted Mediation classes at the ABA Conventions and for various professional groups. Ms. Goldsamt provides customized special training services for corporations, institutions and private organizations.
Accredited Professional Mediator & Arbitrator; Mediation Trainer. Advanced Practitioner, Assn. for Conflict Resolution; former Chair NJSBA Dispute Resolution Section. Practice Areas: Family (divorce, pre/postnuptial, support, custody, time sharing, parent/child, adoption); Business (dissolution, shareholder disputes, collection, contracts, formation); Construction; Estates & Probate; Employment., Foreclosure Mediation, Guardianships, Elder Law, Wills and Estates.
Litigator since 1979. Conflict resolution practitioner since 1989.State Bar Trustee; Former law professor; Faculty member, ICLE Divorce/Civil Mediation Trainings. Advanced Practitioner, ACR, Accredited Professional Mediator; former Officer/Director, NJ Association of Professional Mediators; former Chair, State Bar Dispute Resolution Section, Master, Garibaldi Inn for ADR; Federal District Court, Bankruptcy Court and Superior Court Mediator; Arbitrator, AAA
Extensive mediation experience, including as court approved Federal and State Court mediator; experienced in divorce and family matters as well as business, commercial, contract disputes; wills, probate, trusts and estates and guardianships; partnership/shareholder disputes; real estate & construction matters and employment. Founding member of the faculty, ICLE Divorce & Civil Mediation Trainings, writer and lecturer on dispute resolution.
11/18/2008 "the parties consented and we were thereafter treated to four hours of the most diligent, insightful and compassionate mediation as I have experienced. Ultimately, the case was settled saving the litigants and the courts several days of gut wrenching and emotional trial. Because it was mediation, Ms. Goldsamt was able to lead the parties to a solution that would not have been possible in a futile arbitration." Russell R.. Huntington, Esq.
04/13/08 "Bonnie Goldsamt is an excellent mediator. She has trained for years and stays current in her field of expertise. Many mediators have minimal training and experience. Bonnie has plenty of both, and she can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees using her skills to assist you in settling your dispute. By: Judith A., www.insiderpages.com
08/3/2010 " I wanted to thank you for your assistance with our mediation. You were extremely professional and personable in your dealings with both of us, even when we have gotten a bit agitated." R.B.
Initial calls with the parties and/or attorneys to clarify the mediation process are at no charge. Hourly rates and retainer to be discussed and agreed upon.
Co-mediation with Accountant and/or therapeutic Mediator available. Offices conveniently located In Hackensack (Bergen County) and Verona (Essex County) serving Bergen, Essex, Passaic, Morris, Sussex , Union, Hudson and Middlesex Counties.