Eight months after being halted in Essex County, divorce trials are now slated to resume in the state’s busiest courthouse starting September 1, 2012. Trials were first suspended in December 2011 due to New Jersey’s ongoing judge shortage crisis. With careful maneuvering, however, and the use of temporary judges from other counties, Essex County has winnowed it’s vacancy rate down to just 10 open spots among its allowed 44 judges.
This is welcome news, but it looks like divorcing couples in Essex County waiting for their litigated and/or contested divorce to proceed still need to have patience when it comes to having their day in court. In a letter to the New Jersey Bar Association, Superior Court Judge Patricia Costello noted the resumption of divorce trials will not clear the calendar immediately, reports the Star-Ledger.
“Understandably, progress in addressing the backlog will be slow, since matrimonial trials were suspended since December 2011,” she wrote. “The judges are working extremely hard in all divisions and with this additional, albeit temporary help from our sister counties, we hope to continue to address the needs of the litigants and lawyers.”
Were you affected by the trial freeze? New court dates have not been assigned yet, but in the meantime, it’s probably a good idea to start looking back over your case. Was there any outstanding paperwork that you needed to find, fill out, or file? Have you and your divorce lawyer maintained contact about your case? Is there any new information that’s come to light that may strengthen your case — or vice-versa, has your spouse unearthed information that you will need to respond to?
Normally we know it’s sad to see the summer end. But this year in Essex County, the changing colors on the leaves will — hopefully — mean a positive change for divorcing couples who can finally move on with their lives. Just sit tight for now! We’ll update this story with any more pertinent news.