Seeking To Learn More About Conventional Litigation vs. Mediation vs. Arbitration in NJ?
Before the pandemic, New Jersey had one of the lowest divorce rates in the country.
Undeniably, the past few years of lockdowns, work-related stress, and general turmoil have strained many relationships. As a result, marriages all over the state are at a crossroads, and plenty of them will end in divorce. If this describes your situation, you may wonder about the next steps.
Today, we will discuss the differences between conventional litigation vs. mediation vs. arbitration. Every divorce unfolds uniquely, so understanding how each form of dispute resolution works and its pros and cons will help decide the best path forward.
As a top divorce law firm in New Jersey, we aim to hold your hand through this trying process. So read on, and we’ll help you navigate the trials and tribulations of your divorce.
How Conventional Litigation Works
In legal terms, litigation is a process whereby you bring your dispute to court to have it resolved by a judge. It’s the most common path for a divorce, but it’s not always the most pleasant.
It starts with a divorce complaint, which includes a statement that one or both parties meet the residency requirements for divorce. That means having lived in New Jersey for at least one year.
You’ll also need to state the legal reason for the divorce. Since New Jersey is a “no-fault” state, irreconcilable differences are the most commonly listed reason for divorce.
Requesting temporary court orders will temporarily resolve any immediate issues, such as child custody, that can’t wait for the divorce process to unfold. From there, you and your spouse will enter negotiations to settle the property, custody, and financial disputes. If a resolution isn’t found, the divorce will go to court.
In a contested divorce, litigation allows you to look out for your own interests. The judge will make a ruling on the case based on New Jersey divorce laws and the evidence presented by your lawyers.
If your spouse is unreasonable or uncompromising in their demands, litigation ensures you’re not left behind. It can also benefit children who need extra protection when abuse or neglect factors into divorce.
The main setback to a litigated divorce is that it’s a lengthier process that often proves more costly. In addition, litigation creates and perpetuates division, so you should only go down this road if you’re at a standstill already.
You’re also at the mercy of the process with litigation. There’s always a chance you won’t agree with the ruling, but you’ll have to abide it when all is said and done.
Types of Mediation
Mediation is one of two NJ litigation alternatives whereby a third party helps negotiate the divorce terms. This might involve the mediator and both spouses (3 individuals total) or the mediator, both spouses and each spouse’s attorney (5 individuals total). Occasionally, others may attend mediation sessions in a forensic or expert witness capacity.
Mediation aims to help you and your ex find common ground to base your divorce. You aren’t fighting it out through litigation, but instead, you’re coming up with an agreement that satisfies the needs of both parties. It’s all done outside the court system.
You and your spouse will determine which types of mediation are required to finalize your divorce. Overarching themes might be child custody, property, and money, but many little things need to be sorted out within those categories – that’s mediation.
The most significant benefit of working with an NJ mediation specialist over litigation and arbitration is that it’s collaborative instead of contentious. You’re working through all these issues with an impartial third party to settle things as quickly as possible.
It benefits both parties and any children to have this done amicably. You can reach the common ground even if you disagree with your ex on essential issues.
The main issue with mediation is that you have to collaborate. Unfortunately, only some couples are in a position to approach their divorce this way, in which case, mediation alternatives like arbitration or litigation are a better approach.
Of the two conventional litigation alternatives, arbitration is the more straightforward route to divorce. Here, the couple hires a private judge rather than going to a courthouse. An arbitration judge can be anyone you choose, not necessarily a legal professional.
Each person, with or without their lawyers, brings their case forward to an arbitration judge who will decide. Arbitration is an admission that common ground can’t be found between both parties. So instead, it’s left up to the arbitration judge to listen to each and make a decision.
Arbitration is a less protracted version of litigation. For example, instead of several court dates over the year, arbitration might be five sessions in 5 days, then a ruling.
This could be the best choice if you want to get your divorce over as quickly as possible. It’s more informal and flexible than conventional litigation and lets you handle your affairs privately.
As with litigation, you could end up dissatisfied with the final decision in divorce arbitration. It’s also worth noting that there’s less opportunity to appeal the arbitrator’s decision than in conventional litigation. Once they’ve made their decision, you’re bound to it.
Conventional Litigation vs. Mediation vs. Arbitration: Which One Is for You?
The conventional litigation vs. mediation vs. arbitration debate comes down to how amicable your divorce is. Mediation can be a healthy and effective way to button your marriage up if there’s even a slight possibility that you can compromise.
However, every divorce has to be dealt with uniquely, so the first step is to talk to a divorce lawyer. Whether you’re going through a contested or collaborative divorce, Dalena Bosch can help. Schedule a consultation today to get the help you need to put your divorce behind you.