Litigate, Collaborate or Mediate? Now you can Arbitrate Child Custody – at least in New Jersey

Arbitration is an alternative to a court making a decision. The parties hire a neutral person, known as an arbitrator, to decide the matter. It is like hiring a private judge. For many years, and in many states, arbitration was not allowed for child custody and related issues, especially in the context of divorce.

Recently, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided, for the first time, that child custody and parenting time disputes may be resolved by parents using binding arbitration under New Jersey Law, subject to certain procedural safeguards. The right to appeal is strictly limited. This decision allows parties who cannot agree by themselves, to avoid long, expensive and public court proceedings, and have their disputes decided privately.

For those interested in reading the case, it is Fawzy v. Fawzy, 199 N.J. 459 (July 2009), 2009 N.J. LEXIS 634.

Be Well,

Mike Stokamer,

Separation & Divorce Mediator & Collaborative Attorney

One thought on “Litigate, Collaborate or Mediate? Now you can Arbitrate Child Custody – at least in New Jersey”

  1. If you want to do a collaborative divorce, but are not sure your spouse is willing, you or your attorney could give your spouse information about the collaborative process. You may also provide your spouse with a list of collaborative attorneys in the area. Your attorney may recommend a few specific local collaborative attorneys with whom he or she is comfortable collaborating, because those attorneys will approach the process in the same way as your attorney. Generally attorneys in the same geographic area will collaborate in similar ways, and will know each other pretty well.

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