What Is The Early Settlement Program?

Divorce can create a lot of uncertainty in your life. You may not know where you’ll end up living, how long the process will take or even where to start.

Fortunately, 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 You Need To Know

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. Parenting time and custody agreements are not discussed. We will represent your financial interests before the panelists and advocate for your parent-child relationship in mediation or litigation.

Talk To A Skilled Lawyer Today

The Early Settlement Program is just one of many choices available to you when it comes to divorce. We can help you pick the best option for your situation and walk you through the process.

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 to get started.