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Striving To Keep a Split Amicable

By Snyder & Sarno on June 13, 2014

According to the New Jersey Law Journal, on June 5th, the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee unanimously passed a bill that would allow a divorcing couple to engage in the collaborative divorce process.

If the bill passes through both houses and is signed by the Governor, it would allow a couple seeking a New Jersey divorce to hire lawyers trained in collaborative practices to assist them in terminating their marriage with little to no litigation. Therefore, it could be less time consuming and less costly.

            The bill requires both parties to fully and candidly disclose all necessary information to each other, especially financial information. All of this information would be exchanged without having to engage in the formal discovery process. Additionally, each party would be required to update the other with any information that has materially changed since disclosure. Throughout the collaborative process, all of the communications between the parties, attorneys, and other professionals would remain confidential.

            Under the bill, the collaborative process would end upon resolution of the divorce with a signed settlement agreement or upon a termination event. The collaborative process could terminate for a variety of reasons, some of which are: a party gives notice of termination to the other with or without cause; a party initiates a court proceeding by filing a pleading without the agreement of the other party; or one of the spouses obtains a restraining order.

            If the collaborative process terminates without success, then the collaborative attorneys would need to withdraw from the case and both parties would need to retain new attorneys when proceeding with the traditional divorce process.

            The bill will next go the Senate and must be passed there in order to move forward. An identical bill is currently pending in front of the Assembly Human Services Committee. We will continue to update you on the bill’s progress, so check back frequently for more information.

            If you have questions or concerns about your New Jersey divorce, please contact the experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers at Snyder & Sarno at (973) 274-5200.

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