Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods in New Jersey Divorce Cases

When people think about divorce, many think about a trial. A trial entails spouses going to court, each spouse presenting evidence and arguments to support their position on various divorce-related issues, and a judge making the final decision. Indeed, divorce cases can go to trial. However, not all divorce cases have to go to trial. In fact, it is estimated that only about five to ten percent of divorce cases are resolved through a trial. Most divorce cases are resolved through alternative dispute resolution methods. Settling a divorce case through alternative dispute resolution can help you save time and money. The truth is that trials can be time-consuming and expensive. However, there are situations where a divorce trial may be unavoidable.

Divorcing couples can use several alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve their divorce-related issues. Below are some of the most common alternative dispute resolution methods in New Jersey divorce cases;


Spouses and their attorneys can communicate directly, orally or in writing, and reach a settlement. This is known as negotiation. Negotiations allow the divorcing spouses to have control over the outcome. Negotiations allow divorcing spouses to maintain an active role in making crucial decisions.  


The second alternative dispute resolution method for divorcing spouses is mediation. Mediation is one of the most popular forms of alternative dispute resolution. In fact, family courts often require divorcing spouses to try mediation before proceeding to court. Mediation entails working with a neutral third party (a mediator) whose work is to facilitate communication between the spouses, help the spouses identify issues, and reach a voluntary and mutually beneficial agreement. Divorcing spouses can go through the mediation process without attorneys. However, it is highly advisable to have an attorney, as mediators are not allowed to offer legal advice or take sides. While the goal of mediation is cooperation, it is important to have an attorney who can represent and protect your interest.


Arbitration entails hiring a neutral third party to make the final decision. This is different from mediation, where the mediator does not have the authority to make the final decision. While this alternative dispute resolution method yields the same result as a trial, arbitration proceedings do not occur in a public court with a judge. Arbitration is less formal than a trial, and, unlike in a court case, where divorcing spouses cannot choose the judge, parties can select the arbitrator.


Collaboration entails divorcing spouses and their attorneys working together to reach a settlement. The difference between negotiation and collaboration is that a collaborative divorce involves working with other professionals, such as financial experts, child specialists, real estate appraisers, and vocational experts.

Should You Resolve Your Divorce Through ADR Methods?

The decision of whether to resolve your divorce through ADR methods should be made after careful consideration of all the factors surrounding your case. While ADR can be effective for many people, it may not be suitable for everybody. Before deciding whether to resolve your divorce through ADR, it is best to consult with an experienced divorce attorney.

Contact a New Jersey Family Lawyer

If you need help determining the best way to resolve your divorce, contact our skilled and dedicated New Jersey family law attorney at The Trabosh Law Firm.

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