Getting a divorce in New Jersey in 2023? If you decide on court litigation to resolve your issues, be prepared that your divorce could take a very long time to proceed.
The reason why: New Jersey’s judicial shortage crisis has created an overburdened court system and unprecedented case backlog in the family courts. According to the latest statistics from the New Jersey Judiciary, 4600 divorce cases are currently stuck in limbo. Under current conditions, if you are waiting for your “day in court,” that day could take a very long time to arrive.
However, there is some good news in this, which is that fast-tracking your divorce can still be a reality. As our firm’s founder Bari Weinberger wrote in her new article for the New Jersey Law Journal, Divorce in 2023: What NJ Spouses Need to Consider, pursuing out-of-court settlement methods can sidestep the backlog and keep your divorce moving towards a swift and satisfying resolution.
If your goal is to divorce with speed, here are some smart choices you can make to still reach this goal.
Tip 1: 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 agree to work together amicably together to settle your matters out of court (know as an uncontested divorce). 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, especially during the backlog crisis. Methods of settling out of court include collaborative divorce and mediation.
Tip 2: Even a complex divorce can be settled out of court — and sped up
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you have complex issues in your divorce (i.e., high net worth assets or business interests) that going to court is a must. 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. When you have intricate business interests, going the route of “alternative dispute resolution” can be beneficial in many ways:
- Settling out of court gives both parties complete control over the outcome of their matter. When you negotiate or mediate, you have the ability to accept only terms that are 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. When tensions aren’t running so high, finding creative solutions becomes more of a possibility.
- 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.
Tip 3: Avoid needless battles
There are court battles in divorce that are rarely “won” by either side. For example, if you are both fit parents, fighting it out in court for “full custody” of the kids is rarely a battle that can be won as the courts view shared child custody as in a child’s best interests, barring exceptional circumstances. Spending all that time waiting for a far off court date can increase animosity between co-parents and drag children into the middle. On the other hand, negotiating or mediating your way to a custody and co-parenting agreement that works for everyone models the kind of give-and-take needed to successfully co-parent. And it take a lot less time!
There are so many issues that may seem thorny on the outside — who gets the house? what happens to the timeshare? who gets the credit card rewards points? — but around the negotiation or mediation table, when cooler heads can prevail, it’s possible to rapidly get to a place where solutions can be found.
What will work in your situation? Talk a family law attorney about practical and ways you can speed up your divorce and make it possible that the divorce you begin in 2023 can actually be concluded in 2023!
“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.