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Arbitration in NJ

By way of a Notice to the Bar dated April 21, 2015, Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D., Acting Administrative Director of the Courts has invited written comments to the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Arbitration of Family Law Matters (“Ad Hoc Committee”) by May 27, 2015.

In this report, the Ad Hoc Committee makes recommendations to the Supreme Court for rule amendments and several forms related to arbitrating family law matters in the State of NJ. The Ad Hoc Committee was established to formulate rules, forms, and procedures to address arbitration in family matters as directed by the Supreme Court in Fawzy v. Fawzy, 199 N.J. 456, 482 (2009). In that case, the Supreme Court Family Practice Committee (Committee) was charged with developing forms and procedures for arbitration in family law matters pursuant to the Uniform Arbitration Act (UAA), N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-1 to 32.

Thereafter, the Supreme Court in Johnson v. Johnson, 204 N.J. 529 (2010) addressed the application of the Alternative Procedure for Dispute Resolution Act (APDRA), N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-1 to 19, to the resolution of disputes in family law matters as well as the extent of required record keeping when addressing custody and parenting time issues. The Ad Hoc Committee was selected to address the concerns of the public and develop rule amendments, forms and procedure that are acceptable to all parties. The Ad Hoc Committee was comprised of representatives from the Family Bar as well as the Civil Bar, including experts on arbitration.

The Ad Hoc Committee drafted rules, a questionnaire, a disclosure form, and two form agreements (one under the UAA and the other under the APDRA) to formalize the procedures and to address the concerns that were previously raised through the public comments. Without question, much hard work went into the Ad Hoc Committee’s report and annexed forms. It is also without question that implementation of the revised rules, questionnaire, disclosure form, and two form arbitration agreements will significantly advance the interests of the public by assisting parties who seek to resolve family law matters out of court in a less litigious, acrimonious and costly manner. It is very much hoped that the Supreme Court adopts the Ad Hoc Committee’s report and that the revised rules, questionnaire, disclosure form, and two form arbitration agreements are implemented shortly.

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