New Arbitration Track for New Jersey Divorce Matters
The New Jersey Supreme Court Family Practice Committee (hereinafter “Committee”) has issued new proposed amendments to our New Jersey Court Rules, which we here at Davis & Mendelson, are happy to report make it much easier for divorcing parties in the state of New Jersey to utilize arbitration as an alternative to litigation. Specifically, for […]
The New Jersey Supreme Court Family Practice Committee (hereinafter “Committee”) has issued new proposed amendments to our New Jersey Court Rules, which we here at Davis & Mendelson, are happy to report make it much easier for divorcing parties in the state of New Jersey to utilize arbitration as an alternative to litigation.
Specifically, for the first time, the proposed amendments create a separate “arbitration track” for litigants to utilize “…at any point in a proceeding…” after they have executed a consent order or agreement to arbitrate or resolve the issues pending before the court pursuant to the Uniform Arbitration Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-1, et seq., the New Jersey Alternative Procedure for Dispute Resolution Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-1, et. seq., or any other agreed upon framework for arbitration of disputes between and among parties to any proceeding arising from a family or family-type relationship except as provided in R. 5:1-5(a)(1). The consent order or agreement to arbitrate or resolve issues pending before the court must include the following language: (i) that the parties understand their entitlement to a judicial adjudication of their dispute and are willing to waive that right; (ii) that the parties are aware of the limited circumstances under which a challenge to the award may be advanced and agree to those limitations; (iii) that the parties have had sufficient time to consider the implications of their decision to arbitrate; and (iv) that the parties have entered into the Agreement or Consent Order freely and voluntarily, after due consideration of the consequences of doing so. When arbitrating custody and/or parenting time issues, the consent order and/or agreement must also require (i) a record of all documentary evidence shall be kept; (ii) all testimony shall be recorded verbatim; and (iii) the award shall state, in writing, findings of fact and conclusions of law with a focus on the best-interests of the child standard.
The attorneys here at Davis & Mendelson have served as arbitrators; both as appointed by the court and/or privately as retained by the parties themselves, we have also represented our own clients in arbitration rather than litigation. Arbitrations permit the parties to resolve their disputes faster and more informally than your typical divorce litigation. The parties have much more control over the process and can even schedule arbitration proceedings around their respective work schedules and/or child-rearing responsibilities. The parties and their attorneys are also in a much better position to limit the scope of the issues they will be addressing, maintain confidentiality, and/or otherwise agree as to logistics of both the process and resulting agreement and final judgment of divorce. We are accordingly pleased that the Committee’s proposed rule changes will now recognize a separate track designed exclusively for those divorcing parties who wish to arbitrate rather litigate their marital differences. If you are in the process of a divorce or considering same, please consider the arbitration alternative soon to be formally incorporated into our New Jersey Court Rules and feel free to call us here at Davis & Mendelson to address any and all family issues requiring mediation, arbitration and/or litigation.
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