People who have never been exposed to the NJ family court system have certain expectations of how it works. We can thank shows like Law & Order and The Good Wife for showing the average person how justice is allegedly dispensed in our state. Those who have already been through it, and all of the attorneys, know that the truth is quite gloomy and, in many cases, scary.
We find it difficult to explain to new clients how the court system works. The reason for that is simple. Although we have practiced in the NJ family court for many years, we cannot predict how a case will proceed through the system. The counties each operate differently and, within each county, each judge operates differently. That variation means that no attorney can predict how your case will proceed through the system. If any attorney tells you exactly how your case will proceed through the system, they are not being honest with you.
The first thing you need to understand is that your case could last for years. You will hear from the court and some attorneys about your case being finished within one year, but that is simply a dream. If your case is not settled, you will likely wait anywhere from eighteen to thirty months for initial Trial dates. Then, your Trial could last for several months, with another wait of several months to get the court’s decision.
The next thing you need to understand is that most judges will not help you resolve your case. You may think that judges provide guidance to help a case settle, but that is not true in the majority of cases. In an ideal world, a judge would make decisions during the course of a case that would help people find a way to resolve their divorce. That is, unfortunately, not how it works.
With all this doom and gloom, what do you do? You need to learn about two powerful words: mediation and arbitration. Alternative dispute resolution is really your only way to bypass the NJ family court system and get to a resolution in a timely (and inexpensive) fashion. If you want to learn more, call us for an initial consultation at (732) 479-4711 Caution! We will not tell you what you want to hear; we will tell you what you need to know.