Divorce court in New Jersey is open to the public. Your testimony can be heard by complete strangers, you will have little control over the input the Judge uses to decide your case (which is usually rushed in family court) and court dates can be spread over the course of months — where judges, lawyers, and litigants can forget their testimony. This means that any kind of momentum your case may have, will die while you wait days or months to continue testimony. The rules of evidence are sometimes too strict where a Judge cannot even hear important information about your case because someone did not comply with the rules, or certain documents could not be obtained, and the Judge will not permit copies or testimony concerning same. At this point, you may be considering an alternative to divorce court, such as binding arbitration.
Divorce Court requires more lawyering while another options – binding arbitration – requires more persuasion.
Binding arbitration is conducted at a neutral location and/or the arbitrator’s office, in a less formal and less stressful setting. Parties can participate more freely than they can in court, where constant objections and form of questions have to fit a particular non-human mode. In arbitration, you are able to present your case similar to divorce court, you are able to question witnesses, you are able to submit evidence, and so forth all without the time constraints and distractions in family court.
Many attorneys do not offer this option to their clients for various reasons, but while it may cost more because you have to pay an arbitrators hourly rate, in the end, the case will still cost less because you will not have to pay your attorney for waiting around in family court. The process will be more streamlined and you will be able to move on with your life faster, isn’t that the purpose of getting a divorce? I think so.
When you are thinking about getting a divorce or have decided to file for divorce in New Jersey, work with an attorney that is comfortable and open to an alternative to divorce court such as binding arbitration, instead of going to trial in family court – you will be glad you did.