The Courts are Closed – Mediations are Open!
by Bruce Matez, Esq., APM
On February 7th, 2023, the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a directive indefinitely suspending all civil and matrimonial (divorce) trials in 6 of New Jersey’s 21 counties. It is expected that these types of suspensions will also be instituted in other counties as well. In his statement, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner noted that the Judiciary in New Jersey has 69 vacancies currently. Divorce trials and perhaps plenary hearings on post-divorce motions to resolve changes in custody, termination or modification of alimony, contributions to college expenses, and others will not be scheduled in those counties, appear to be delayed in many other counties, and may very well also be suspended in other counties in the near future.
In July 2022, the attached article was published addressing the Judicial vacancy problem in New Jersey. Over seven (7) months later nothing has been done to address the issue, and more than one-third of the state’s courts are not scheduling divorce or matrimonial trials for an indefinite period of time. As Justice Rabner referenced in his public statement, the public is being denied access to the court.
As this problem grows without any fix or end in sight, and more and more families are denied justice and a resolution of their legal disputes, divorce and family law litigants and attorneys are searching for alternative ways to resolve their disputes. I recently mediated several matters in which the fact that the parties’ litigations (both divorce and post-divorce) will languish in the system unresolved for months if not years, became a significant motivating factor for the parties to work through their issues in mediation and resolve them. Unfortunately, sometimes the lack of access to the court is beneficial to one party and detrimental to the other. Delayed access to the court or the denial of access creates for litigants and disputants significant emotional and financial distress, anxiety, stress, and keeps people’s lives in limbo. It is incredibly and profoundly unfair to the general public. Nevertheless, attorneys and the public must face this situation and find ways to resolve their disputes outside of the court.
These ways are called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Mediation is an excellent alternative option for dispute resolution. There are hundreds of trained, qualified, and experienced mediators in the State of New Jersey who are ready to help people resolve disputes. Gary Borger, Bruce Matez, Deena Betze, and Mary Cay Trace are all seasoned divorce and family law attorneys who have been mediating for many years and have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of couples and parents resolve divorce and family law disputes through mediation. Call or email us today to schedule your mediation and start working toward ending your dispute and planning for your future.
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BorgerMatez, P.A. is a Cherry Hill, New Jersey law firm which concentrates its practice in the area of family law and whose attorneys are familiar with and experienced in alternative dispute resolution. Contact us at 856-424-3444 or use this form for a consultation with one of our attorneys, all of whom have more than 30 years of experience.