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West Caldwell Family Law Blog

Want to stay out of court in divorce? Consider collaborative law

Although knock down, drag out courtroom battles make for hair-raising television and movie scenes, in reality, many New Jersey spouses would rather find an option that allows them to stay far away from the inside of a courtroom when they divorce. In fact, many people simply want to discuss the issues, come up with agreeable arrangements and sign papers to settle things and move on in life. When this is the desire of both parties, collaborative law can prove to be a viable divorce option.

In a collaborative divorce, the focus is on working together alongside impartial specialists, such as financial advisors, tax consultants and therapists (particularly when children are involved). The approach is cooperative and one of joint problem-solving. Spouses are each represented by an attorney, who resolve to work together to foster a fair and comprehensive settlement. 

3 divorce myths you should stop believing

When it comes to divorce, there is an endless amount of advice columns available. In some cases, you might see conflicting information or run across tips that might lead you to make some very costly mistakes. Like with most situations, it is important to separate myth from fact.

Since not all divorces are created equal, you should look carefully over your specific circumstances before you start making preparations. Part of this process includes knowing which information you can rely on. The following includes some common divorce myths you should avoid.

Mediation can reduce the strain of divorce on children

For many families facing an impending divorce, the biggest concern is the impact on the children. Studies make it clear that divorce can have a negative impact on children, affecting their emotional, social and even physical health. The more contentious and drawn-out your divorce becomes, the more likely it is that your children will experience negative consequences.

For some couples in New Jersey, mediation could be a great alternative to a court-based divorce. Not only can mediation allow you to obtain a divorce more quickly and for less money, it can reduce the strain of the divorce on the children of the family.

Problems that may arise regarding finances in divorce

For many in New Jersey, the coming year will likely include various finances challenges. Some people's problems will no doubt be related to divorce. Achieving an agreeable settlement that doesn't break the bank is often possible, but it's always a good idea to know where to seek support if a financial dispute arises during proceedings.

New Jersey is not one of the nine community property states in the nation. This means that marital assets will not necessarily be split 50/50 in divorce, although the court will do its best to determine a fair division. In some situations, however, the way assets (and debt) are divided can negatively impact finances.

Mediation and negotiation keys to collaborative law settlements

Not everyone who divorces in New Jersey does so through long, drawn-out battles in courtrooms. Many people set goals for finding alternative dispute resolution processes that can help them achieve amicable settlements without the time and expenses of litigation. Collaborative law allows people to get help to negotiate the terms of their own divorce settlements.

There are many reasons spouses might choose this form of dispute resolution for divorce. For starters, it can be a big money-saver since litigation tends to be quite expensive. Collaborative efforts also often take less time than navigating the family court process.

What if a parenting time dispute violates a court order?

Anyone who has gone through divorce likely understands how challenging, stressful and frustrating it can be. When parenting time problems arise, New Jersey parents may want to immediately reach out for support before things get out of hand. Such issues tend to evoke strong emotions on both sides, and solutions may be more easily obtained by acting alongside experienced representation.

Some spouses are able to achieve amicable parenting plan agreements before their divorces are finalized. There is no guarantee, however, that some sort of obstacle or problem won't arise after some time has passed. Life changes and even parents who are willing to cooperate and compromise for the sake of their children's best interests may find it difficult to resolve a particular issue if one or the other disagrees or requests a modification that is suitable to the other person.

Mediation: Blake and Rachael finalize divorce within 6 months

It is not often people hear that a celebrity divorce is finalized within a few months. People in New Jersey may be surprised that the divorce of Blake Anderson and Rachael Finley was concluded within six months. It is not clear whether they reached settlement agreements on their own or through mediation, which is becoming the chosen method of divorce for many.

The couple's marriage lasted about five years, and they have a daughter who is three years old. A media report indicates that the two of them agreed that joint physical and legal child custody would be in the best interest of the girl. There appear to be no contentious matters that they could not resolve, and the judge's stamp of approval after the mandatory six-month cooling-off period was all they needed to finalize their divorce.

The easier options in divorce might not be the best options

Ending a marriage is likely near the top of the list of emotionally challenging experiences. However, even more challenging is the fact that people are advised to put emotions aside and focus on untangling finances and assets. Those in the throes of a divorce in New Jersey may want to avoid talking about it, but important decisions that can determine long-term financial stability need to be made at this important time.

Keeping the family home may be the easier choice, but the upkeep costs may make it an option that is not affordable. Another easier option that may turn out to be costly is taking the home instead of more liquid assets. While it may seem a fair exchange, a house will cost much more than a retirement, a brokerage or a bank account in the long run.

What to do in a case of child custody interference

When there are children involved in a divorce, emotions sometimes make New Jersey parents do things that are out of character. They may resort to various actions of child custody interference, the most serious being abduction. When a parent abducts his or her child from the custody of the other parent, criminal law enforcement will be tasked with recovering the child, while a petition to family court may prevent similar events in the future.

If a parent removes a child from a former spouse with whom he or she has joint child custody, penalties may be severe. Violating child custody orders can lead to significant fines, loss of child custody and visitation rights, and even time behind bars. Although family law differs from state to state, a parent who abducts a child will damage his or her own standing when it comes to the family law court, and custody rights may be eliminated permanently.

Mediation can provide you with a quick and private divorce

New Jersey has taken unusual steps in recent years to reduce the pressure on the court system. One of the most upsetting for many unhappily married couples is the stay placed on divorces in Passaic and Essex Counties. For couples with marital homes in either county, obtaining a divorce may not be an option for the foreseeable future.

Thankfully, mediation is an option even when divorce is not. Mediation allows you and your spouse to handle all of the important decisions on your own. The court won't have to review your records, consider your family circumstances or spend any resources on your divorce process. Mediation allows for non-contested and quick divorces, even in places where traditional divorces are not an option.

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Cipriano Law Offices, P.C.
175 Fairfield Avenue
Suite 4C/D
West Caldwell, NJ 07006

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