Lost in the excitement over Governor Christie’s signing of the New Jersey Alimony Reform legislation yesterday was another bill which the Governor also signed and may have even more meaningful significance for many divorcing New Jersey couples and their children: the New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Act.
The Collaborative approach to New Jersey divorce is based on collaboration–not litigation.
Advocates of the Collaborative approach point out that divorce is much more than a legal process in which each spouse hires a lawyer to advocate for his/her “position” and to go to court if they are not able to reach a settlement. They emphasize that divorce is also an emotional and financial transition, and that divorcing parties need and deserve expert assistance in each dimension of the process: legal, emotional and financial.
In a divorce which is handled through the Collaborative approach, the goal is to enhance communication throughout the process and lay the groundwork for a healthier post-divorce relationship between the parties, which will also enhance their ability to co-parent any children.
To best satisfy the parties’ needs and achieve that goal, the Collaborative approach to divorce cases involves the utilization of an interdisciplinary team, which consists not only of a Collaborative lawyer for each party, but also a Family Transition Specialist and a Financial Professional.
Collaborative lawyers are not neutral and impartial. Each lawyer clearly represents only the interests of his/her client. However, he/she does so in a non-threatening and non-adversarial fashion.
The linchpin of every New Jersey divorce case which is handled through Collaborative Practice is a written Agreement signed by both the parties and their lawyers that, during the Collaborative process, they will not seek to resolve any issue by going to court.
The commitment of both the parties and the attorneys to resolving all issues consensually is underscored by their further agreement that, if either party does elect to resolve any issue by going to court, the services of both Collaborative attorneys must be terminated and the parties must hire new attorneys to go to court with them.
Of course, every situation is different and utilizing the Collaborative approach may not be possible in some divorce cases.
Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to New Jersey divorce and family law matters. We firmly believe that clients need to be aware of all of their options for trying to resolve all of the issues in their divorce.
If want to talk, please call us at (973) 455-1220 or fill out the Contact Form on our website.