Divorce Arbitration in Monmouth County | NJ Divorce Lawyer
The Monmouth County Divorce Arbitration process is an appropriate dispute resolution process in instances where:
- One or more issues are intractable, resulting in the parties being entrenched in their positions; and unable to negotiate through the issue, and requiring someone knowledgeable to make the decision for them.
- The parties are in an unequal bargaining position. There is a family business solely owned and operated by one of the marital partners: how much is it worth? what is the cash flow generated by the business? If each of the parties has retained business valuation experts who differ widely in their opinions, there may be no basis to resolve these issues without testimony from the accountants or business appraisers before a family court judge or an arbitrator.
- The parties wish to keep their business affairs and net worth private from public view. Court records and documents filed with the court are open to public scrutiny unless the court “seals” the records – something that only occasionally happens. Documents filed with an arbitrator are not public and not open to public scrutiny.
How Does Divorce Arbitration Work
Monmouth County Divorce Arbitration proceedings are similar to trial at the courthouse. Testimony is taken in the presence of the parties and counsel. Documents are offered into evidence. At the conclusion of the arbitration proceedings, the arbitrator prepares an Arbitration Award.
The arbitrator is empowered by the parties to resolve their dispute, in the “Referral to Arbitration” that authorizes and limits the power of the arbitrator. The arbitrator may be limited to just deciding one of the key issues in the case.
As an example, the arbitrator’s charge may be limited to the issue of whether the marital home should be sold now, or maintained for several years until one or more of the children graduate from high school. Testimony relevant to this issue may include: the ages and scholastic abilities of the children; special needs of the children; the cost of maintaining the marital home over several years or whether a smaller home is equally suitable; the savings if any to be achieved by selling and obtaining a less expensive residence; the anticipated change in the value of the home over the next several years; the income and other assets of the parties; the simple arithmetic demonstrating whether there is a current ability to continuing carrying this expense – is the home affordable post-divorce; the fairness to the non-resident spouse of withholding their share of the net equity for years; whether the value of the home should be fixed, and a “Gemignani” Mortgage prepared to protect the non-resident owner’s interest in the home.
Once a decision is rendered in the form of an Arbitration Award, the case then transfers back to the Trial Court to determine whether the award will be subject to approval, modification, or vacation by the court. The court’s power is limited by the referral to arbitration as well, with the parties having the power in the referral to arbitration, that the award will not be subject to scrutiny on the merits by the Trial Court, but only reversible in the event of a limited set of circumstances. There are several applicable statutes in this state relevant to arbitration proceedings and rules governing such proceedings, as well as a number of applicable cases and court rules.