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:
- 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.
- 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.
- The case is presented more efficiently since there are no delays.
- The arbitrator’s decision is rendered in a timely manner.
- 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.