The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved legislation that would allow parties involved in a divorce to seek an alternative to a court battle to resolve the conflict that naturally comes with the complicated and emotional process.
If the bill is eventually adopted as law by the legislature, it would be called the “New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Act.” It would authorize an alternative method for divorce proceedings that would be completely voluntary.
Couples would be able agree to hire legal counsel to represent them solely to help reach settlement, and if they are unable to negotiate a settlement, they would have to hire new counsel to assist them in court. This process is similar to divorce mediation, which has been used in New Jersey for a long time.
Mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution have proven to be extremely effective in resolving all types of litigation matters, including divorce. Compared to litigation, it is generally faster, more cost-effective, and less adversarial. Everyone benefits when parties can effectively collaborate to resolve their divorce issues such as child custody, child support, parenting time, property division, and spousal support.
The Senate Majority leader has stated, “The decision to end a marriage is difficult enough. The legal process must not add more burdens to families working to reshape their lives. By creating a non-adversarial environment for divorcing couples, we will help families resolve conflicts amicably and in a way that is less costly and less time-consuming than the traditional court process.”
The bill will now be considered by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Whatever the outcome of this proposal, it is a good idea for New Jersey residents who are ending their marriages to speak with a legal professional to assist them through the process.
Source: Politickernj.com, “Weinberg bill to create new process for conflict resolution in divorce cases clears judiciary panel,” Trish Graber, March 24, 2014