New Jersey’s judicial shortage crisis has created an overburdened court system and unprecedented case backlog. According to the latest statistics from the New Jersey Judiciary, 4600 divorce cases are currently stuck in limbo. If you are getting divorced in 2023, you need to be aware that your “day in court” could take a very long time to arrive. Some good news? You can still make decisions and pursue out-of-court settlement methods that will keep your divorce on the fast track.
If your goal is to divorce with speed, here are some smart choices you can make to still reach this goal.
Understand the Difference Between Uncontested & Contested Divorce
If you really want to save time on your divorce, do some careful thinking about whether your divorce truly involves issues that need to be settled by a judge (aka, a contested divorce), or whether you and your spouse can settle your own matters out of court through mediation or arbitration, two commonly used forms of alternative dispute resolution. When you and your spouse don’t have contentious issues to settle, and agree to work together amicably, this is known as an uncontested divorce. Waiting for far-off court dates in New Jersey’s overcrowded court system can be frustrating, and the amount of time and effort it takes to prepare for court can be overwhelming. If you can at all picture sitting down at the negotiating table with your spouse and hammering out your own differences, you will likely find the uncontested divorce process takes much less time than traditional divorce court litigation.
Even a complex divorce can be settled out of court — and sped up
MacKenzie and Jeff Bezos settled their entire high net worth divorce out of court, so did Giselle Bunchen and Tom Brady when they split a fortune valued at $100 million. These savvy spouses may have used an out-of-court settlement method such as mediation or collaborative divorce, or had their attorneys engage in one-on-one negotiation. Going this route of “alternative dispute resolution” benefited them in many ways:
- Settling out of court gave both parties complete control over the outcome of their matter. They had the ability to accept only terms they found mutually acceptable, rather than have terms dictated by a judge.
- Mediation, collaborative divorce and other settlement methods are inherently low conflict, helping to defuse tension and disagreement between parties.
- Out-of-court methods offer much more privacy. What happens during mediation and negotiation sessions is completely private and off the record. They’re no hearing records to snoop through.
Avoid needless battles
There are certain divorce battles that are rarely “won” by either side. For example, if you are both fit parents, the court will most likely try to get child custody to as close to 50/50 as possible because that is what is in the best interest of your child. So, spending all the time and energy fighting for “full custody” may not be a good use of your resources. The courts are still going to stick with what is in the best interests of your child, which is almost always time spent with both parents. The old saying, “choose your battles wisely” may be no more true than it is in divorce.
“When you spend time arguing needlessly over something like who gets the microwave, it’s time to step back and reassess. Do your best to keep your emotions out of the process.” — Bari Z. Weinberger
Divorce in 2023
About to file for divorce or already in the process of divorce and have questions? We can help. Schedule a consultation today with one of our highly skilled family law attorneys and get answers and a detailed strategy for moving forward on your best options in divorce. Call us at 888-888-0919, or please click the green button below.