Alternative Dispute Resolution as an Option in the Divorce Process Union County, NJ

Alternative Dispute Resolution (also known as ADR) is a manner of resolving disputes between parties.

For the purposes of this discussion, the benefits and drawbacks of using ADR instead of going to trial will refer to divorce, although ADR is used in many other legal areas such as personal injury, car accidents, professional liability, and others.

Why is ADR a viable option in divorce cases?

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Divorce NJADR proceedings are usually shorter than a trial.  Also, ADR allows the participants more control over what happens in terms of agreements about child support, alimony, division of property, custody, etc. When a person plays a role in the decision-making, frequently, they are more likely to abide by the agreement.  The majority of separating couples choose some form of arbitration for this reason.

Divorce could be a complicated and costly matter, but it can be navigated with quality support by exploring different options. Edward S. Cooper supports clients across Clark, Roselle, Roselle Park, Garwood, Elizabeth, and throughout Union County, Essex County, and northern Middlesex County in all divorce and mediation proceedings. Please fill out our online form, or contact us through our Linden, NJ office at (908) 481-4625 for assistance with your case.

Are There The Advantages Of Alternative Dispute Resolution in New Jersey?

When your case goes to trial, the final decision is made by a judge. You have no input, and once the trial is over, it is over.  There is no such thing as a slam-dunk case.  ADR is considerably less expensive than going to trial.  Lawyers normally charge a contingency fee which is augmented significantly if the case goes to trial.  The Courts like to use ADR because our society is exceedingly litigious, and ADR can ease the burden on an already over-burdened court system. Oftentimes, judges require litigants to engage in some form of ADR before bringing their cases to court to clear up the docket somewhat. Finally, court proceedings are public while ADR sessions are private, and the possible indecorous family secrets are kept under wraps.

What are the Kinds of Alternative Dispute Resolution?


This is the least formal kind of ADR because the litigants can talk about everything that concerns them.  From custody to child support, everything is dealt with.  The legal counsel for each spouse provides guidance.  The negotiation is facilitated by a mediator typically, a judge or attorney who understands how the law relates to the facts of the case.  A mediator provides a fresh pair of eyes and helps both parties to comprehend the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s position.  The mediator is a conduit for negotiations, and the results are non-binding unless otherwise stated in the agreement.


As the most structured method of ADR, arbitration isn’t for everyone. The arbitrator conducts formal hearings, weighs the facts, listens to both sides, and renders a final legally binding decision. Each former spouse describes what their ideal situation would look like and why.  It is the arbitrator’s job to make decisions that are fact-based and fair rather than being influenced by emotional testimony.  The proceedings are conducted in a private forum, and the decision cannot be appealed.  Both lawyers are excluded from the proceedings and act as coaches. This method is best when one or both parties are argumentative and need a third party familiar with the law and experienced in this field.  Arbitrators are typically lawyers or judges, and their fees are split by both parties.


What are the kinds of alternative dispute resolution in NJ?This is exactly what it sounds like.  Two parties and their attorneys work together to devise an agreement which everyone agrees is fair without the use of a mediator or a judge.  It is a creative process where financial advisors, counselors, and other specialists can be called upon to facilitate ideas and solutions. The cost of these specialists is shared by the divorcing couple. The attorneys for each party act as a support, a coach if you will.  Clients set the pace of the negotiations amicably.  One of the motivating factors when using collaboration is that if the negotiations break down and the couple wants to go to court, each will have to hire a new counsel as their previous attorney would be privy to a lot of disclosed private information shared in the meetings. Going to court rather than completing the collaborative process would be costly and could take much longer to complete as courts are already full to the brim with cases.

Time To Take the Next Step, Call New Jersey Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyer Edward S. Cooper

There is no one correct answer for every couple seeking an alternative to court-based litigation for handling their divorce. The best way to go about choosing one is to list the pros and cons with your soon-to-be ex and decide which type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) venue is the best for you.  Remember that all the methods above have a few advantages in common:  they are less expensive than going to court, and they take less time to decide a court case. Bringing the case to an attorney for review can be highly beneficial during these initial discussions.

No one gets married thinking about divorce.  It is a challenging, painful, difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be contentious. At The Law Offices of Edward S. Cooper, Esq, our goal is to support you through whichever option you choose to close this chapter of your life.

You deserve the best support and legal service available to fit your needs.  If you are considering alternatives to the traditional path of divorce in court, and live in Carteret, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Hillside, Westfield, Scotch Plains, or any other place near our local office in Central New Jersey, call us immediately at (908) 481-4625 to begin planning the next steps for you.