Collaborative Divorce: A Peaceful and Less Expensive Alternative to Litigation


On Thursday, June 5, 2014, a collaborative divorce bill, which would allow couples to resolve their divorces through legal counsel trained in collaborative methods instead of traditional in-court litigation, was passed by the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. According to the NJ Law Journal, key provisions of the bill, the Family Collaborative Law Act, S-1224, include: 

  • Both parties are required to provide “timely, full and candid disclosure” of relevant information, such as finances, without having to resort to the process of discovery.
  • Communications between the parties and their lawyers and/or other professionals would remain confidential.
  • If the parties do not reach an agreement, the collaborative lawyers must withdraw and the parties must retain new counsel which cannot be lawyers from the collaborative lawyers’ firms.
  • The collaborative process would cease if:
    • One party gives notice;
    • Either party files a document that initiates a court proceeding without first obtaining the permission of the other party;
    • Either party is subject to or obtains a TRO (temporary restraining order) or a final restraining order under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act;
    • Either party files a motion for emergent relief;
    • A party fails to provide the information needed to resolve the dispute;
    • The collaborative lawyer withdraws from the process.

The bill will now go to a full Senate vote. If passed,New Jersey will be the eighth state with legislation for the collaborative divorce process.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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