Will I have to attend an Early Settlement Panel?

When a couple makes the decision to get divorced in New Jersey, they usually are able to stay out of court. The idea of going to court can be intimidating for many people and it is a frequently asked question that many potential clients come in and ask when they are preparing to get divorced. Luckily, a lot of couples don’t ever actually have to go to court, even if they don’t choose a divorce through a means of alternative dispute resolution.

In New Jersey, almost 98% of all cases are resolved through an agreement. That means they do not ever go to trial. At a certain time during the litigation, if the parties haven’t resolved their issues, they are required to attend an early settlement panel, which is made up of the litigants and two to three experienced matrimonial attorneys. I have sat as a panelist on such panels for the past 28 years.

Prior to attending the panel, each attorney will submit written submissions to the panels to review. The panelists will meet and discuss the issues with the litigants present, answer their questions, and then make recommendations. Not always, but a good majority of the time, the panelists suggestions assist the litigants in resolving their divorce and coming to a conclusion of their divorce. Of course, coming to a conclusion is not an easy task because it is a highly emotional process that essentially takes everything a person knows and changes it. They may be forced to move, not see their children as much as they once did, and have to make child or spousal support payments for years to come.

If you have questions regarding the divorce process, contact an experienced attorney who can provide you with assistance.

The Radol Law Firm is proud to serve the people of New Jersey in their divorce and family law, elder law, estate planning, and bankruptcy matters. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.