The bad news:

The Courts are backlogged; Judges are overworked; decisions are delayed; and appeals can take years.

The good news:

You can opt out of the above by submitting your case to divorce arbitration; a forward-looking method of dispute resolution which has gained popularity in New Jersey and many other states.

The most important benefits of divorce arbitration are:

  1. The case is heard by an experienced retired Judge or a practicing family law attorney who has been trained (and in some cases certified) as a divorce arbitrator instead of a Superior Court Judge who, in addition to dealing with the problems outlined above, may very well have no experience in family law.
  2. The case is presented in accordance with the Rules of Evidence as if it were a courtroom trial. The arbitrator is empowered to make findings of fact and conclusions of law just as a Judge would do.
  3. The case is presented more efficiently since there are no delays.
  4. The arbitrator’s decision is rendered in a timely manner.
  5. Except in very limited circumstances, the arbitrator’s decision is binding.

My experience as an attorney in divorce arbitration cases and as a divorce arbitrator is overwhelmingly positive. Of course there are issues to resolve before arbitration can commence, such as arrangements for payment of the arbitrator’s fees; however, these issues are usually not difficult to resolve in light of the numerous benefits afforded by the process. Divorce arbitration—the time is now.