May 26, 2020

Are There Alternatives to Traditional Divorce?

Traditional fault divorce is generally viewed as a time consuming, expensive, and very public way to end a marriage. Couples who once shared homes, finances, and families suddenly find themselves as adversaries, fighting to divide the life they built together. Finances, and families, are often shattered by divorce. Divorce arbitration has been used for many years to resolve various legal issues.

Divorce attorneys are increasingly viewing arbitration as a viable alternative to a court divorce trial. Divorce arbitration can help couples avoid a time-consuming, expensive, public trial in return for the efficiency, privacy, cost-effectiveness, and informality of arbitration.

Divorce arbitration helps couples retain control over life decisions, limit expenses, and prioritize their children’s well-being.

Divorce arbitration is a structured process that in some ways is similar to a court room divorce but with more control retained by the parties themselves. Divorcing couples are powerless to alter the structure of a court room proceeding. Nor can they choose the judge who will hear the case. However, parties to a divorce arbitration can set up the structure, timing, and location of the arbitration from the outset, and can choose the arbitrator. The parties agree in advance as to which issues will be arbitrated, whether and how the rules of evidence will apply, and the manner that the proceedings will be recorded.

The arbitration itself involves testimony of witnesses and the submission of documents into evidence. At the conclusion of an arbitration hearing, the arbitrator will usually render a decision within 30 days. A typical court room divorce often continues for several weeks or months.

Divorce arbitration is recognized by the New Jersey Supreme Court as an effective method of dispute resolution that provides an alternative to conventional divorce litigation. Unlike a court schedule, the parties to a divorce arbitration schedule the dates of the arbitration sessions. Instead of court dates scheduled in different weeks over a period of weeks or months, scheduling arbitration sessions results in more convenience, fewer lost work days, and a speedier resolution.



About this Author

John S. Eory, Stark and Stark Law, Divorce Lawyer, Family Attorney

John S. Eory is a Shareholder and Co-Chair of Stark & Stark’s Divorce Group. John limits his practice to divorce, custody, domestic violence and other family law matters. He is the former Chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court District VII Ethics Committee. John is a lecturer for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and the New Jersey Association for Justice and has appeared as a speaker on television and radio with regard to family law topics. John was selected by the Mercer County Bar Association and the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in...