Collaborative Divorce Becomes Popular in New Jersey

After a law passed in 2014, more couples in New Jersey are opting to engage in collaborative divorce rather than using more traditional methods.

In the wake of a New Jersey state law passed last year making it easier for couples to seek collaborative divorce, the practice has become even more established in the Garden State. Using this method, couples can engage in a more cooperative and less contentious process to resolve issues like the division of marital property, child support, custody and alimony – outside of the traditional courtroom environment.

The Daily Record reports that while the method has been regularly practiced here for more than a decade, the 2014 New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Act made it the fourth official way to get divorced in the state, joining litigation, mediation and arbitration. And according to the New Jersey Law Journal, the state became the eighth – along with Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington and the District of Columbia – to give divorcing couples this option.

Collaboration Over Confrontation

There are numerous benefits to taking a collaborative approach to divorce, mainly because it is often quicker and less expensive than other means. In some situations, former spouses only have to spend a few minutes in front of a judge at the end of the process to establish a final divorce decree, after which the dissolution of marriage is finalized and both parties can move on with their lives.

Another key benefit of collaborative divorce, according to Family Circle magazine, is that it can reduce the stress people experience when ending their marriages. Like it or not, a divorce almost always has an emotional component to it, which can leave former partners feeling resentful of each other. This animosity tends to spill over into traditional divorce proceedings, when spouses can find themselves engaged in bitter arguments over who will receive which marital assets, who will retain ownership of a home, how parents will split custody and how much, if any, one former spouse owes the other in alimony payments.

Although collaborative divorce isn’t necessarily easy, it gives divorcing spouses the opportunity to work through any matters of contention in a more relaxed setting. The result is often more amicably resolved divorces that allow both parties to feel comfortable with the final agreement, even if they didn’t get everything they wanted.

Changing Perceptions

However, there remain many couples going through divorce in New Jersey that automatically assume that the process has to be difficult and adversarial. Nevertheless, recent trends point to more couples being able to take advantage of alternative means to resolve disputes.

If you and your spouse are considering divorce, it’s important to closely examine all of your options. There may be an opportunity to use collaborative methods for a less costly, more expedient and less stressful process. A knowledgeable Bayonne family law attorney will give you the information you need to make the best decision for you.