What is arbitration?
This method of alternate dispute resolution essentially consists of hiring a private judge, and paying their usual hourly rate. There are many skilled arbitrators in New Jersey, a number of whom are retired Family Court judges. The arbitrator, attorneys and parties negotiate the rules under which they agree to work prior to the beginning of the case. The parties’ attorneys present their clients’ cases to the arbitrator as if they were in Court, by submitting documents to be admitted into evidence, offering the testimony of the parties and/or other witnesses (if appropriate), and making legal arguments throughout the case. The arbitrator rules on those legal arguments as they are made, then issues a final, comprehensive decision, in writing. If the arbitrator, attorneys and parties agree in advance that it will be binding arbitration, this decision can’t be appealed unless there was fraud or mistake during the proceedings,
What are the rules for arbitration in New Jersey?
The New Jersey Rules of Court, www.judiciary.state.nj.us/attorneys/rules.html, govern cases which are arbitrated. Rule 4:21-A applies to cases in the Civil Division.
Family Court cases are subject to the requirements of Rule 5:1-4(a)(5): Arbitration Track.
“At any point in a proceeding, the parties may agree to execute a Consent Order or Agreement to arbitrate or resolve the issues pending before the court pursuant to the Uniform Arbitration Act, N.J.S.A. 2A: 23B 1, et seq., the New Jersey Alternative Procedure for Dispute Resolution Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:23A 1, et seq., or any other agreed upon framework for arbitration of disputes between and among parties to any proceeding arising from a family or family type relationship except as provided in R. 5:1 5(a)(1). If the parties elect to arbitrate, the litigation shall be assigned to the Arbitration Track, and the arbitration shall proceed pursuant to R. 5:1 5. Issues not resolved in the arbitration shall be addressed in a separate mediation process or by the court after the disposition of the arbitration.”
Why go to arbitration?
Arbitration can be particularly effective in cases where the parties prefer that the facts of their case not be on the public record, such as a particularly nasty custody fight or a business with cash that isn’t reported to the Internal Revenue Service. It can also be an effective method for parties who do not wish to deal with the backlogs in the New Jersey Court system, which can be daunting to people who wish to get on with their lives expeditiously.
Ms. Copeland has taken cases to arbitration which were concluded successfully, and welcomes such cases.