New Jersey Divorce Arbitration ProcessPublished: Jul 21, 2017 in Family Law
The issues surrounding divorce and how a couple’s assets, property, and debts are to be handled and divided can be quite trying and complex to resolve. If children are involved, then custody issues must be addressed as well. In the state of New Jersey, couples entering into divorce have several options available to bring all of the above issues and more to a final resolution. One option is mediation in which a couple will go to an independent third-party to help them mediate a reasonable voluntary agreement on the issues. Another option is to take the matter to court for a judge to decide on the issues of assets, custody, alimony, etc. A third, and quite practical and convenient option for many, is to handle these issues through a process called divorce arbitration.
The results of mediation are not legally enforceable. Going to court can be very difficult and cumbersome process that lasts more than a year until a final decision is handed down to the divorcing parties. On the other hand, arbitration lies somewhere in the middle – it is much less cumbersome and expensive than litigation, and the results can be legally enforceable if such is agreed to by both parties in advance.
If you are in the process of a divorce and have thought about using arbitration, an experienced Jersey City divorce lawyer from our team at Bhatt Law Group can help. We understand the complexities of family law and divorce issues, and are committed to helping you obtain the best possible outcome during this difficult time.
Divorce Arbitration is a Confidential Process
The process of divorce arbitration is completely confidential – it is not open to public observation. In a sense, it has similarities to a court case in that both parties present their cases to the arbitrator, most often through their respective divorce lawyers. Before arbitration begins, the parties agree upon what issues will be discussed. They also agree as to whether the decision of the arbitrator will be binding or non-binding.
Selecting the Divorce Arbitrator
The arbitrator may be any person with the proper legal background. This person will be agreed upon and selected by both parties to the divorce. In some instances, an arbitrator may be an experienced retired judge or a practicing family law attorney with the proper training to handle divorce arbitration. It is advisable to select someone who has actually been certified as a divorce arbitrator by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Determining the Issues to be Discussed
The issues to be evaluated through arbitration must be determined and agreed to by both parties in advance. Some of the issues that both parties to the divorce may want to discuss in the divorce arbitration process include: disposition of the home, pensions, alimony, equitable asset distribution, child custody, child support, and parenting time. Any custody issues determined through arbitration are subject to review by a court in the state of New Jersey.
Determining the Structure of the Arbitration Hearing
The parties to the divorce have control over how the arbitration hearing is structured. For instance, you and the other party can decide how the hearing will be recorded or transcribed – whether through a live reporter, audio recording device, or some other means. As well, you and the other party can determine how the Rules of Evidence will be applied, what dates and times the arbitration will occur, whether the arbitrator’s decision can be appealed and how that process would work, and how the arbitrator’s fee will be paid.
The Arbitration Hearing
Once the divorce arbitration hearing begins, the case moves forward with the submission of documents and the testimony of witnesses before the arbitrator based on the-agreed-to rules of evidence. The arbitrator has the power to make findings of fact and conclusions based on the law in the same way a Judge would. When the hearing has ended, the arbitrator informs both parties of the day on which the decision will be handed down. In general, and if possible, it is the goal of a divorce arbitrator to decide the issues of a case within 30 days.
Divorce arbitration provides a more palatable alternative for many divorcing parties to the often long and arduous courtroom experience. It is a more flexible and time efficient approach that helps you and the other party reach a settled conclusion about the various financial, family and personal matters that surround the divorce. Often, it is more desirable process regarding the interests of the children involved since it is a much faster avenue for resolving these issues and returning to some sense of certainty, continuity, and regularity for their everyday lives.
Contact an Experienced Jersey City Divorce Lawyer
If you are currently involved in a pending divorce and considering arbitration as a means to resolve the family, financial, and custody issues at hand, our team at Bhatt Law Group can help. We understand the process of divorce arbitration. Our Jersey City divorce attorneys can sit down with you and walk you through your options, as well as any advantages you may have using the arbitration process.
To request a free consultation, contact Bhatt Law Group today at (201) 798-8000.