Whether for the couple involved, their children, their lawyers, or the court, divorce is never an easy process to go through. Litigation proceedings can take many months and stress any civility between the two divorcing parties completely apart.
A new law currently pending legislation in New Jersey, however, may see the institutionalization of an alternative dispute resolution practice that promises to make the divorce process less demanding and time consuming. Supported by many of the best divorce lawyers in NJ, Senate Bill 1224, its counterpart, Assembly Bill 1477, will formalize and provide uniformity to the collaborative divorce mechanism, and establish the New Jersey Collaborative Family Law Act.
Designed as a method for divorcing couples to avoid litigation, collaborative divorce encourages them to work together toward the finalization of their separation. Proceedings usually take the form of a series of meetings between the parties and their attorneys over the course of an average of 6 months. During these meetings, the divorcing couple negotiate the division of property and alimony, as well as child support, custody, and visitation rights.
This approach to settling terminal marital disputes provides couples several advantages. First, by working with each other to come to agreeable terms, the process saves whatever civility is left in the marriage. This allows a less caustic after-divorce relationship to settle into place, which ultimately lessens the impact the separation might have on their children.
Second, because the couple, rather than a judge, decides how property is to be divided and who gets custody of the children, there is less disagreement over these issues in the long run. This, along with positive experience of taking ownership of the issue, makes the process more satisfying for either party.
Third, because it requires far less paperwork and court time, collaborative divorce is also a much more affordable option than litigation. This contributes to the process being less demanding overall.
About 500 progressive divorce lawyers in NJ, like the Romanowski Law Offices in Middlesex and Monmouth counties, already offer couples various levels of assistance with collaborative divorce proceedings. Those who do are in agreement that the process is far more favorable than litigation for everyone involved in it. Some find acting as advocates, rather than adversaries, a great change of pace, and the cost-savings is certainly attractive.
(Source: COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW HELPS TAKE LITIGATION OUT OF DIVORCE, NJ Spotlight, May 2, 2014)