If you are getting a divorce in New Jersey and have been a domestic violence victim, you have options for resolving the situation. You can choose how to divide your debt and assets as well as parenting time and child custody. A judge can also determine these issues during the trial, but there is an alternative that may be more cost-effective and less emotionally taxing.
Before your case is filed
If you and your former spouse have attorneys, you can choose to work outside of court to settle parenting and financial issues before you officially file for divorce. This will help expedite the process. It may be helpful to consult a licensed marriage and family therapist or psychologist to help you through your divorce.
The process of collaboration ends when one spouse files the dissolution or divorce case in court. Once the divorce case is filed, both parties must find new lawyers to represent them in court.
After your divorce paperwork is filed
You can decide to participate in mediation once you or your former spouse files for divorce. During mediation, a neutral individual will meet with you and your ex to help you reach an agreement. You and your ex can hire a lawyer to explain your rights during mediation as well. Your settlement will be reported to the judge, who will then make a final decision about whether to grant your dissolution or divorce.
The court will not require you to attend mediation if you have filed a restraining order. If you are a domestic violence victim, you can opt to participate in mediation to resolve financial matters even if you have a restraining order. You can also decide to have an arbitrator decide on issues instead of taking your divorce case to the judge. However, you must agree in advance to accept the arbitrator’s decision.