Ultimately, you’re going to end up in court, but what are you going to do before you get there – and, yes, there are other ways. One can engage in the meditative process, where the parties sit down with a third party and try to hash out their issues and ultimately come up with some kind of pre-filing, property and settlement agreement. There is the collaborative divorce method, which has become very popular and is gaining a lot of steam in the state of New Jersey from the standpoint that it often works to keep the cost of litigation down. The collaborative divorce effort utilizes both attorneys, sometimes financial advisors, sometimes psychologists. Just try to look at the whole union and the separation of that union from both practical, financial aspects as well as the emotional aspects of it. At the end of the day, you are going to end up in court. It’s just how long are you going to stand there. The mediative process as well as the collaborative divorce process, assuming that they are successful, allow you to get in and out of court rather quickly because there you have resolved all issues that need to be litigated, so all you really do is file a complaint and potentially await the answer of the other party, and then wait for your court date to be divorced.
Rosalyn Charles is a family lawyer practicing in Newark, New Jersey.