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Alternatives To Litigation

family lawyersAlternatives to Litigation

The most common type of divorce is a litigated divorce, which is a divorce played out in Court. 

Divorce litigation follows the same model which applies to all other types of litigation such as personal injury cases, criminal cases, business disputes, and the like. Complaints are filed, discovery is undertaken, motions are heard by the Court and trials sometimes take place.

Unfortunately, forcing divorces into a litigation framework is not a natural or even a common-sense approach to ending a marriage, and therefore divorcing couples are (or should be) encouraged to investigate alternative forms of dispute resolution (“ADR”).

In fact, the Court system itself recognizes that a courtroom is not the right place for married couples to wind down their marriages. This is why, if you litigate your case, you still have to attend various forms of ADR proceedings before you see a Judge for purposes of the divorce itself.  In other words, even if your case is being litigated in Court, there are always opportunities to resolve your case before a final trial. 

Mediation Within Divorce Litigation 

Even if you are litigating your case in the Court system, there are times when you will be Court-Ordered to attend  mediation. For example, you must attend mandatory custody and parenting time mediation which takes place almost immediately after the divorce is filed. Court-mandated custody mediation takes place at the Courthouse at no charge to the parties. Attorneys do not attend these custody mediation sessions. Likewise, if you are unable to resolve your financial issues, the Court will also require you to attend private financial mediation prior to scheduling a trial. Court-Ordered private financial mediation takes place at the offices of the mediator or one of the attorneys. The mediator is selected by the parties with the help of their attorneys and the cost is usually equally divided between the parties. 

Mediation Outside of Divorce Litigation

Whether or not you have filed a complaint for divorce, you can elect to resolve your divorce outside of the Court system. Mediation can begin when the complaint is first filed or at any time during the divorce proceedings. The Court looks favorably upon parties’ efforts to mediate and will generally give you some time to do so. Some parties will need mediation for only some of their issues and others will mediate all of their issues. Attorneys sometimes accompany their clients to mediation however mediation is more commonly done with the mediator and the two parties only, while each party has an attorney with whom they are consulting along the way.

Melissa is a trained to mediate in the State of New Jersey.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce is a specific process that provides couples with an alternative to divorce litigation or mediation. In order for a case to be a “fit” for the Collaborative Divorce process, the divorcing parties need to be able to look out for not only their own interests, but also for the interests of their soon-to-be-ex-spouse. If a couple believes that this process is or may be right for them, they must select a trained and certified Collaborative Divorce attorney; Amy Goldstein is trained and certified to represent parties in Collaborative Divorce cases in New Jersey. After the attorneys have been retained, an agreement is signed wherein all of the participants agree not to engage in litigation and to address all of the issues in a mutually beneficial problem-solving manner. If experts are needed, they are jointly retained. These experts must also be trained to participate in the Collaborative Law process. A mutually-retained joint therapist is also engaged when necessary or helpful to assist if the couple needs help to stay “on track.” While this process is not for everyone, it can be a very meaningful alternative to traditional litigation and to mediation in some cases.

Amy is trained to represent parties in Collaborative Divorce cases in New Jersey.

Arbitration

Arbitration is a substitute for a trial. During an arbitration, briefs are written, testimony is taken, evidence is provided to the arbitrator and other trial formalities are followed. A written decision is rendered by the arbitrator after the arbitration is concluded.  Like mediation, arbitration can cover just some of the issues between the parties if the other issues are resolved or it can cover all issues. The Arbitration decision can be binding or non-binding. Arbitrators are selected by the attorneys with the input of their clients and they are paid by the parties. Arbitration sessions take place at the office of the arbitrator or one of the attorneys.

Amy is trained by the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys to act as an Arbitrator.

Burlington County Family Law Attorneys at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Can Stand by You When You Are Facing Trying Family Law Matters

Whether you are going through a divorce or crafting a prenuptial agreement, our Burlington County family law attorneys at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. are ready to give you the support you need. Call us at 856-890-9400 or contact us online to schedule an initial, private consultation today. Located in Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, and Gloucester County.