Option to attempt early settlement of a divorce to avoid trial

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2022 | Divorce |

In any New Jersey divorce, there may be anger, resentment and other emotions that can make the process difficult. Some people may simply want to make the other spouse pay for causing the divorce, or they may want to ensure their spouse receives as little as possible in the divorce. However, there are many other couples who do not want a long, drawn out divorce.

Being in this position does not mean that the couple will see eye to eye on every issue. They may be willing to work with the other spouse for a resolution, but it could take some effort to get to that point. Couples who find themselves in this position may find the Early Settlement Program (ESP) helpful.

Basics of the Early Settlement Program

ESP is a mediation program to assist couples in reaching resolutions. It is different than a typical mediation though. Both sides will be able to present their case to a panel of experienced family law attorneys. They will also provide a memo to the panel outlining their positions for the resolution of the divorce.

After hearing from both sides, the panel then meets to discuss the facts and apply the law to those facts. After the discussion, the panel will provide their recommendations for settlement. These recommendations will be based on what they would expect a judge to rule if the case went to trial.

These recommendations are just the opinions of the panel and are not binding on the couple. Both parties need to agree to the recommendations in order for them to be binding. If the couple does not accept the recommendations, the judge will never know the recommendations and will make an independent decision based on the facts presented at trial. If they are accepted, they will be presented to a judge and the couple will be ordered to follow them.

Divorce can be very contentious, but it does not have to be that way. Couples can decide to use the ESP as a way to help them reach resolutions. This can be an effective way for couples to control the outcome and save themselves from some of the time, energy and emotions that come with a trial. It is important that people still understand the law to ensure a fair outcome though and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.