Mediation & Arbitration
Solutions from Our Skilled Livingston Matrimonial & Family Lawyers
It is the public policy of New Jersey to encourage litigants to resolve their disputes outside the courtroom. Mediation provides a forum for parties to do so with the assistance of a neutral third party called a “mediator.” This individual, who may be a social worker, mental health professional, an attorney, or even a retired judge, will listen to both sides and make recommendations, suggestions, and offer creative solutions to assist the parties in reaching middle ground.
If you believe you and your spouse are good candidates for this process as you dissolve your marriage, then Ziegler & Zemsky, LLC is ready to speak with you. Our knowledgeable, vigilant Livingston matrimonial law attorneys are well-versed in both mediation and arbitration and the common pitfalls clients face as they navigate the negotiations these options require.
We're ready to protect your best interests. Call us at (973) 878-4373 today to learn more about your mediation options.
"Do I Need a Lawyer?"
Parties can participate in mediation with or without the assistance of counsel, though it is always advisable to consult with an attorney prior to entering into any agreement. Matters discussed during mediation as well as any offers of settlement are strictly confidential and cannot be used by either party against the other in the event the mediation process breaks down and litigation ensues.
Divorce litigants in New Jersey also have the option of participating in arbitration to resolve their matter, which process is governed by one of two statutes, the New Jersey Alternative Procedure for Dispute Resolution Act (“NJAPDR”)(N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-1 et seq.) or the Uniform Arbitration Act (“UAA”)(N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-1 et seq.). It is important to be aware that the provisions of the latter will apply unless the parties specify in their agreement to arbitrate that they will be governed by the former.
While there are various nuances between the two statutes, the main difference lies in the review process and right to appeal of an arbitrator’s award. Specifically, while the UAA provides an avenue to the Appellate Division of a trial court order confirming, modifying, correcting or vacating an arbitrator’s award (see N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-28), the NJAPDR limits review at the trial court level and provides that an arbitrator’s review will be final if the trial court concludes that same was supported by “substantial evidence” (see N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-13(b)).
The Arbitration Process
In either context, the process of arbitration is similar to a trial before a Superior Court judge, however, a neutral third party (usually an attorney or retired judge) presides as “arbitrator” and listens to testimony, reviews evidence, and renders a decision. While there are many reasons that litigants may decide to go the arbitration route as opposed to using the court system, a commonly cited advantage to arbitration is to expedite the process and avoid the backlog which can, unfortunately, occur in the Superior Court. However, there are additional costs associated with arbitration such as payment of the arbitrator’s fees.
At Ziegler & Zemsky, LLC, our team of seasoned attorneys are experienced in handling all facets of both mediation and arbitration and can guide you in determining what process is right for you. We understand our clients' preference for these options over protracted litigation and are ready to dedicate our approach to a fair and amicable resolution on your behalf.
Ready to learn more about these options? Contact us today to request an initial consultation with our attorneys.