Early Settlement Program Explained

Divorce can introduce an enormous amount of uncertainty into your life. You may be stressed about anything from the effects of a potential property division outcome to how long a resolution could take.

New Jersey offers divorcing couples the opportunity to reach an efficient, cost-effective resolution through the Matrimonial Early Settlement Panel program. At Weinberg & Cooper, LLC, our attorneys can prepare you for the possibility of taking your case before the panel and represent your interests.

What Is The Early Settlement Program?

As a step before mediation or litigation, the Early Settlement Program (ESP) is a court-mandated program in New Jersey. Two or three panelists, depending on the county, hear your case. The panelists are experienced family law attorneys who offer an objective, informed perspective.

Each spouse and their attorney attend the panel, and each attorney presents his or her case. Following this, the panelists will agree on a nonbinding decision, which each side can either accept or reject. When the panel does not end in a settlement, mediation or litigation is typically the next step.

The Benefits Of Settling

As a form of alternative dispute resolution, ESP provides an opportunity to resolve key financial and economic issues. The benefits of the program include:

  • Arriving at an efficient resolution for several critical issues
  • Saving money by avoiding or shortening litigation
  • Allowing for the objective opinions of experienced lawyers
  • Anticipating what a judge could rule if the case was taken to court

Couples that agree on many issues going into a divorce can greatly benefit from participating in ESP.

Comprehensive Representation Throughout Your Divorce

To understand your case, the panelists must review your Case Information Statement (CIS). This document discloses your financial picture, including your assets, debts, monthly budgets and more. We will compile this document and other requirements to submit to the panelists.

Even in the most productive of panels, your case may not be over after the settlement. The ESP process only considers economic issues, including the division of marital property and spousal maintenance. Custody agreements and parenting time are not discussed. We will represent your financial interests before the panelists and advocate for your parent-child relationship in mediation or litigation.

Consult With A Skilled Lawyer

We work with individuals across Bergen County and Northern New Jersey. Schedule an initial consultation with our Hackensack office. Call us at 201-580-3934 or email us.