Today, with divorces on the rise and the court's backlog, many parties are turning to arbitration and mediation, as opposed to proceeding with their matter to trial. Both options offer an alternative to the often intimidating judicial process, namely; private and informal proceedings; a speedy resolution; and a cost efficient alternative. New Jersey has a "long standing public policy [that] favors settlement of disputes through arbitration." Block v. Plosia, 390 N.J. Super. 543, 551 (App. Div. 2007).
The New Jersey Appellate Division, in Minkowitz v. Israeli, 2013 N.J. Super. LEXIS 144 (App. Div. September 25, 2013), held that parties who agree to submit their matrimonial disputes to binding arbitration may thereafter choose to mediate certain disputes without invalidating an agreement. However, arbitrators may not act as mediators and later resume their role as arbitrators, if mediation is unsuccessful. The parties should instead select a new arbitrator to conduct a binding arbitration on any remaining issues. The Court stressed the importance of the neutrality of the mediator/arbitrator role and the fact that such the process can only be successful if the parties have faith in the confidential nature of the proceedings.
If you have questions about Alternative Dispute Resolution, contact the law firm of Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
THE FOREGOING IS INTENDED TO BE A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY.