Maria and Shane had leased their Jersey City apartment for three years when the couple decided to get a divorce. Shane moved in with his brother while he looked for a new place to rent. Maria remained in the apartment and over the next few weeks, had the building superintendent change the locks and paid the rent herself on the first of the month. Read more
Due to the state’s judge shortage crisis, divorce trials in Essex County, home to the state’s busiest courthouse, have been on hold since December 2011. Still waiting for your day in court? Depending on the issues involved, it may be wise to ask your divorce attorney if a form of alternative dispute resolution is appropriate in your case. Two of the most popular alternatives to litigation include:
Mediation: If both parties are willing, private divorce mediation can accomplish the same goals as litigation, but comes with the added bonus of helping you feel more in control of the divorce process.
What Happens: In a typical divorce mediation session, you and your spouse sit down with your attorneys and a neutral professional known as the mediator (often a lawyer or retired judge). At first, you may take turns identifying your individual needs and wants. The mediator then tries to facilitate a settlement discussion, talking about compromises that might make sense in your situation. However, a mediator only makes recommendations when asked — his or her sole goal as a neutral professional is to get the parties to come to a resolution that they can both live with. It should be noted that this process is not recommended for divorces where abuse or domestic violence is present.
What Else to Know: Mediation is completely private and non-binding. Let’s say your July 14 court date is postponed and you give mediation a try, but it doesn’t work out to your satisfaction and you decide to go before a judge in the fall. The courts won’t know what happened behind closed doors, so nothing that happened during mediation can be used against you (nor can it be used against your spouse). With that said, however, mediation is so popular precisely because people are getting the results they want.
Arbitration: Getting divorced through arbitration is similar to mediation in that it’s confidential and an out-of-court type settlement, but the arbitrator is the one who in the end decides the terms of the divorce, much the same as a judge.
What Happens: In a typical arbitration session, a neutral arbitrator–often a lawyer or retired judge–sits in a room with a stenographer and takes testimony. Unlike the give and take of mediation, you need to go into an arbitration meeting prepared and ready to present your case to this person in the exact same way you would a judge. After listening to both sides, the arbitrator deliberates and then hands down a binding decision that you will need to live with (or go to court to appeal).
What Else to Know: If you feel you have a very strong case and have demands that you know your spouse will not compromise to meet, this type of alternative dispute resolution may be the route to take. For those who want a third part to make a decision, but don’t want to linger in court system limbo over the summer, arbitration can be a very efficient way to reach a settlement.
Worried about your retirement? You are not alone, especially when it comes to the question of dividing that nest egg you’ve worked so hard to save and build up. Divorce can be a devastating event, but it doesn’t need to ruin your retirement. For tips on how to protect your funds, here are six steps towards a more secure financial future: Read more
Long-term illness can be brutal on a couple’s finances. When one partner is too sick to work, but the other can’t afford to pay for healthcare — something that often happens when one spouse has cancer, whether you have insurance or not — it can drain a family’s hard-earned resources. Read more
The outrageous ways people exact revenge on cheating spouses may invoke both admiration and alarm. If you’ve recently found out you’re headed for divorce with a two-timer, we encourage you to just take a step back for a minute. There are a lot of reasons you’d like to soothe your sore heart by doing something not so nice to your doubtless deserving ex — but we’d like you to realize you’re only hurting yourself. Take, for example… Read more
In a growing trend, more and more baby boomers are divorcing after years of marriage. As CBS 2 New York reports, the spike in the number of so-called “gray divorces” is backed up by some very stark statistics. Since 1990, the divorce rate has doubled to 1 in 4 in couples where both partners are over 50. And after age 40, it’s often the wife who wants the the divorce. Read more
Filing for divorce often brings with it a tsunami of paperwork, including required court forms, paperwork requested from your attorneys, financial records, and change of address paperwork for your child’s school. Getting a divorce may also mean suddenly having a new daily schedule or finding your days filled with appointments, from attorney visits to appointments with a family therapist. Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be, as long as you start with these four easy steps to get organized–and stay organized–during your divorce: Read more
Division of assets during divorce can lead to some pretty nasty arguments. But when divorcing couples fight over “stuff”, whether it’s valuables or tchatchkes, it’s almost always a battle over intangibles. Memories, family associations, and ideals about love and marriage are at the heart of such arguments. In the confusion and turmoil of divorce, people will battle blindly to hold on to physical “anchors” they associate with emotions — even if it makes matters worse!
One way to avoid such arguments is to limit the number of things you are willing to fight over. Here’s a process to try (and if you can get your spouse to do the same, it will work even better): Read more
If you are like most people, you have probably checked out an old boyfriend or girlfriend on Facebook or Twitter. But as Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group’s Bari Weinberger and other legal experts discuss in a new CBS 2 News TV report, this seemingly harmless behavior is going a lot further — and leading to the end of more and more marriages. According to Bari Weinberger, too few people realize that what they post, tweet, and text can and will be used against them in divorce court. “The evidence is shocking and the courts are starting to rely heavily upon it,” she confirms for CBS reporter Kristine Johnson. Read more
There are dozens of books and web pages about how to heal from a divorce. What few people talk about is how a divorce can itself be a healing process. Here are a few circumstances where that might be true — situations where a married couple might actually begin a healing process by splitting up: Read more
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