Articles Posted in Alternative Dispute Resolution

The calendar turning to September signifies different things to different people. For some it signals the court-rules-225x300end of heat and humidity, cooler temperatures and changing leaves. For others, it’s the kids finally going back to school. To still others, it signals the start of the football season, the excitement of baseball pennant races and playoffs, or the opening of basketball or hockey training camps. However, for lawyers such as myself, the holidays come early as each September brings with it special gifts, namely the annual amendments that have been approved by our Supreme Court to the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey.

Unlike last year, a number of these recent Rule Amendments directly impact upon Family Part practice, many being in response to, or in clarification of, statutory changes that went into effect over the last few years. I will summarize and discuss these Amendments over the course of several blog posts.

Arbitration

Only a court can grant a divorce. A court can also decide issues of custody and parenting time, alimony and child support, the distribution of property, as well as other claims incident to the 7df9a9b7f03c042ccdfba2b0252bb070-300x200dissolution of a marriage. However, a court need not decide these issues as the parties themselves have the power to resolve them–and in the vast majority of cases, they do. Often the parties are able to settle their financial and custodial issues whether with or without the assistance of counsel, during the course of an ongoing litigation process. However, in recent years there has been a growing acceptance of dispute resolution methods, whether as an alternative to conventional litigation or as a compliment with respect thereto, to assist parties to resolve their marital issues. Continue reading ›

Last week, we wrote a blog post discussing the New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent enactment of Rule 5:1-5 which sets forth standards and procedures governing the arbitration of divorce matters. The Supreme Court codified recent case law which had addressed questions arising over the parties’ use of the arbitration process to resolve issues related to their divorce proceeding, rather than continuing to pursue litigation through the court system and having a judge decide the issues in their case. In so doing, the Supreme Court was furthering the policy that has evolved in recent years encouraging the use of complimentary or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings as a means to help parties settle cases and/or divert cases from a growingly overburdened judicial system. Continue reading ›

contract2More and more litigants today are agreeing to arbitrate matters outside of the public sphere of the courthouse and hire a private arbitrator to resolve their dispute in lieu of a judge in the court doing so.  In the context of a business  or contract dispute, the aggrieved parties might be more inclined to consider having an arbitrator decide their case. Continue reading ›

Thomas Jefferson opined in his “Retirement Papers” that, “[G]overnment governs best that governs least”. It was a wise observation in the time of the patriots that established this great nation and has significant import today. We have just experienced our democracy in action as mid-term elections across this country registered a historically significant vote of no confidence in the direction of our country. Although this blog is dedicated to informing people on the status of Family Law in New Jersey, a momentary departure from that goal seems warranted to examine what lesson can be learned from the recent mid-term election results  that can be applied to a litigation strategy. After all, family law is the product of governmental action, and changes in government attitude and the public’s expectation of their government has a profound influence on the law. Continue reading ›

TableMost of us have watched the opening scene of the 2005 summer comedy, “Wedding Crashers”, where John Beckwith, played by Owen Wilson, and Jeremy Grey, played Vince Vaughn, serve as mediators in an acrimonious divorce between the equally recalcitrant  Mrs. Kroeger, played by Rebecca De Mornay, and Mr. Kroeger, played by Dwight Yoakam. Nine years after moviegoers were treated to one of the funniest incidents of  alternative dispute resolution ever depicted in film, last week the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee unanimously passed The Family Collaborative Law Act, S1224, which will now go to the full Senate. Continue reading ›

The vast majority of divorce cases settle by way of an agreement reached between the parties.  Only a small fraction of divorce cases are actually tried and decided by the court.  Continue reading ›

file0001073676107It is not always commonplace for case law in the State of New Jersey to come down in quick succession that will totally change the landscape of an area of law.  However, that is just what has happened with regards to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) thanks to the recent decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and the Appellate Division in the past two (2) months.  Continue reading ›

625807_the_rings     The process of deciding and moving towards a divorce is a vexing and stressful time for anyone.  We ask our friends and families questions:  some stupid, some obvious, others befuddling and perplexing about what we should do when our marriage is not going as we had hoped or planned.   Continue reading ›