In New Jersey, every county has now established court-mandated programs known as Early Settlement Programs. This program was created for people with pending divorce litigation. Additionally, for post-judgment issues, attendance by both parties at early settlement panels has started being a requirement in some counties.
What Is the Matrimonial Early Settlement Program?
For the Matrimonial Early Settlement Program, judges and/or the Family Law Committee select sufficiently experienced attorneys as panelists. These panelists, for your case, have agreed to assist in the establishment of a fair settlement on a volunteer basis. In a private room, your case will be heard by two panelists. During the presentation, both parties will likely be present. To the panel, in an informal manner, the facts of the case will be presented by each attorney. This should not be mistaken for a trial. There is no record made of anything that is verbalized, there is no cross-examination, and there is no formal testimony.
Issues Considered by the Panelists
What kind of things do the analysts in this matter consider? Their purpose is to contemplate issues such as counsel fees, property division, child support, and alimony. If requested, the panel may also consider additional issues. Custody issues, however, are not considered.
Both attorneys will present financial information to the panel which they will put to good use, including pay stubs, appraisals, tax returns, information statements regarding the case, and more. For the settlement of your case, to arrive at a recommendation, they will apply the information they gather to existing matrimonial laws in New Jersey.
The Recommendation – What Is Its Purpose?
Regarding a fair settlement in the case, a recommendation will be made by the panel as to what they feel is appropriate. How did they decide this? They ask themselves, “If this case went to court, what would the decision of the judge be?” You do not have to accept their recommendation, however.
However, you should discuss your decision with your attorney and consider it very carefully. The individuals who gave you their recommendation are experienced divorce attorneys offering an educated opinion based on experience, knowledge, and more.
In many cases, both parties in a divorce are interested in an expedited process. If at the time of negotiating or paneling, you decide to settle, your divorce could be granted that very day, after the judge is informed of your settlement. Settling saves future emotional distress, counsel fees, expense, and time for the family and parties involved. Another court date will need to be scheduled if that day, you choose not to settle.
Romanowski Law Offices Can Help with Divorces and Separations
When you work with a law office, you deserve a firm that offers reliability and integrity. One that assures you of their personal commitment to identifying the opportunities and challenges faced by you every day and finding the right solutions for them.
At Romanowski Law Offices, to meet the needs of our clients, innovative legal solutions have continuously been developed so we now offer assistance and representation in the following areas:
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Domestic Violence
- Child Support/Alimony
- Child Custody
- Family Law
- Separation, Annulment, Civil Union Dissolution, Divorce
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