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The New Jersey Collaborative Family Law Act

By now, many of us have heard of the new alimony law, which was signed by Governor Christie on September 10 th. In addition to this law, Governor Christie also executed the New Jersey Collaborative Family Law Act. The law allows parties to use a voluntary and non-adversarial collaborative process to resolve family law disputes. Collaborative law is defined in the act as a dispute resolution method in which an attorney assists a client in resolving disputes without court intervention. The parties agree to avoid litigation by meeting with their attorneys as well as financial planners, accountants, social workers, and other mental health professionals to resolve all disputes as amicably as possible. The act summarizes the collaborative process step by step.

The act outlines exactly what should be included in a collaborative family law agreement. Arguably the most important requirement is inclusion of a confidentiality statement. This means a party can refuse to disclose or prevent their lawyer or a non-party participant from disclosing collaborative communication. This right can be waived if both parties openly agree to disclose the information. This is especially important when mental health professionals are counseling or communicating with the parties or their children and they do not want the information shared.

The collaborative law process is beneficial for both parties, and more importantly for the children. Alternative dispute resolution techniques are on the rise. Avoiding litigation saves money, time, stress and additional hostility. The quicker and more amicably a divorce is dissolved the better off the parties and their children will be in the long run.

Contact us for help in your family law matter.