Monthly Archives: January 2013

Reader Suggestions, and a Word of Caution

I’m partial to reader topic suggestions, and a good one came in today from a submitter who will probably want to remain anonymous: “I’m always partial to the infidelity but we’re trying to repair the marriage topic.” That gave me an idea – I will briefly touch on that topic, but it brings me to something I feel really needs to be discussed more openly and frequently.

As you would imagine, infidelity, among a number of other potentially-infuriating discoveries, is a situation I deal with all the time in my professional capacity as both a divorce litigator and mediator.

What do you do when you find out your spouse is cheating, but you don’t want to jump to divorce? Of course, the option for couples therapy exists. The opportunity, once tempers have cooled, to engage in a productive discussion with a qualified professional may work wonders. Having an open channel of communication can be an invaluable tool in progressing to a mediated divorce agreement that both parties can live with without any of the destructive anger or animosity that so often colors divorces.

But what if it doesn’t work? What if there’s no way to avoid a divorce? And what if you can’t communicate and it gets to the point where, frankly, “either (s)he goes, or I go?”

When high emotions are involved, I often see divorces “kick-started” by the filing of a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order; in effect, utilizing this as a tool to force the other party from the home. It happens all the time and it always results in misery. This is not, of course, to make light of situations of actual domestic violence – but to warn that it is used as a tool more often than I care to see.

I strongly caution against reflexively and angrily acting in any situation; twice so when a marriage is involved; and thrice so when there are children born of the marriage. It is precisely because of the effect visible anger has on children that I always recommend a cooling-off period before any serious action is taken. All too often, I see clients of all genders rush to file Domestic Violence actions, forcibly removing their spouses from their homes, in a mix of both stark revenge and punitive rage. These sorts of rash decisions can be life-altering and devastating, both emotionally and financially, to a family. When both sides hire attorneys and run to court, spending upward of $10,000.00 between the two parties for this one incident alone (before the divorce is even filed!) oftentimes, parents become shoehorned into a parenting time schedule that is imposed upon them without regard to their or their children’s lives and schedules. This schedule is then utilized as a vital component in determining child support figures either at that time or later on in the litigation.

If you see an attorney who recommends this as a strategy to kick-start a divorce, you should probably take a step back and ask yourself if what may work instead is a period of physical separation, followed by an honest dialogue, perhaps utilizing the services of an experienced and trained mediator such as Rick Silver of the Law Offices of Matthew C. Johnston, LLC. Mr. Silver is available to answer your questions about this or any other topic related to divorce and divorce mediation at 973-584-5402. He can also be reached at

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Filed under Divorce, Domestic Violence, Mediation, Temporary Restraining Order

Why Mediation?

I’ve recently gotten a number of inquiries about my mediation services. There seem to be a lot of you who want to get divorced and have been separated for some time but just don’t believe they have the money to invest in a protracted litigation.

Thankfully for those of you who are willing to negotiate your issues, we offer divorce mediation services.

Mediation is a good option for people who don’t want their final divorce settlement decided by a judge. It results in a negotiated agreement that provides you the relative comfort of reaching a settlement that you know is acceptable within your own financial constraints.

You are the master of your own settlement. My purpose as mediator is to identify the real issues and focus your time on those issues so that your settlement is reached as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Mediation may also be a good long-term solution as it appears from my experience that mediated settlements are much more likely to be adhered to than a settlement imposed by a judge.

If you can stand your partner enough to sit down in our office and hammer out a deal, and you would rather choose your own path rather than have one imposed upon you, The Law Offices of Matthew C. Johnston, LLC can help you.

Feel free to contact Rick Silver, Divorce Mediator as 973-584-5402 or at

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Filed under Mediation