Clients meeting with an arbitrator

Collaborative Divorce in New Jersey, say what?

Generally speaking, 97% – 98% of all divorce cases settle. Judges often tell divorcing parties that it is not a matter of “if” a case will settle, it is a matter of “when”.  Some cases settle in days, some weeks and others may linger for years. There are many factors that affect the time in which a case will ultimately settle. The two biggest factors, though, are the litigants themselves and the attorneys they hire. It is more likely that a settlement will be reached if the parties are amicable. The case is more likely to settle when the attorneys are settlement-minded.

Divorce Mediation

For years, mediation has been an option for people going through a divorce. In mediation, the parties hire a Mediator to assist them in working out the details of their divorce. The Mediator facilitates the discussion and function as an intermediary between the parties. The Mediator works with the parties to reach resolution.  Once a resolution is reached, the Mediator prepares a Memorandum of Understanding confirming the terms of the settlement. The Memorandum of Understanding is not binding but once it is incorporated into a Marital Settlement Agreement and executed by the parties, it is a binding agreement.

Another approach divorcing spouses may want to consider is an efficient and effective approach.

Collaborative Divorce

It is a Collaborative approach to divorce. This approach is different in that both parties hire an attorney but the parties and the attorneys all agree in advance and in writing that they will work hard to settle their case.  And, if their case does not settle, the attorneys will not litigate the case and, in fact, will have to get out of the case. This provides an abundance of incentive for all involved to come to the table in good faith and in the spirit of compromise in an attempt to reach resolution because if a settlement is not reached, the clients need to hire new attorneys to proceed to litigation.

In more complex or emotional Collaborative Law cases, the attorneys can bring in experts as needed. For example, financial experts may need to become involved to assist in valuing assets or determining lifestyle or cash flow.  A divorce coach or a child specialist can  assist the parties on custody and parenting time issues. The Collaborative approach is more of a team approach wherein the goal is to have a civilized and amicable divorce. The Collaborative process usually takes three to six months and the fees will be significantly less than a litigated divorce case.  The process is confidential and occurs on the parties respective time frames.

The focal point in a Collaborative divorce is on the children. Children are the priority of all involved. Another main goal is to attempt to reach both parties’ goals and objectives of the divorce. A Collaborative divorce is another alternative to divorcing parties and provides a mechanism to divorce you spouse with dignity.

Please contact me at jlawrence@lawlawfirm.com if you have questions about this post or any other family law matter.

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