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I was supposed to be mediating a case today at the Philadelphia office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today. With the record-long government shutdown still in full effect, all mediations are canceled. The government shutdown does impact everyday people in addition to my colleagues at the EEOC who are not getting paid. About 70% of cases I mediate at the EEOC settle in the mediation. Let’s hope the government settles the shutdown dispute…
Many people confuse the difference between mediation and arbitration and in an NJ Supreme Court ruling this week, it cost a company who inserted what was purported to be a mandatory arbitration clause into a consumer agreement. In a nutshell, arbitration is a process whereby a private judge — the arbitrator — makes a decision, often binding, upon the disputants. In mediation, the parties come to a voluntary resolution (or not) with the help of the…
Arbitration is essentially hiring a private judge to make a decision in a dispute.  If the arbitration is binding, there are few grounds to appeal that award. Arbitration is a creation of contract.  Generally, all parties must agree to enter arbitration to resolve their dispute.  In fact, in NJ, the NJ Supreme Court has ruled that an arbitration clause must explicitly state that the parties may be giving up their rights to go to court. …
Parental alienation can be a huge problem for divorced or estranged parents.  Parental alienation, sometimes called Hostile Aggressive Parenting, is a behavior by a parent, or another caretaker or adult a child trusts, such as a grandmother/father, aunt, uncle, etc., whether conscious or unconscious, that could create alienation in the relationship between a child and a parent. Alienating conduct can be very harmful to not only the children but to the parents/adults as well. Children look at…
You go through the process of getting your divorce and the court grants it.  You’re finished with the process, right?  Wrong!  There is still plenty to be done, as this recent Forbes article indicates. What then? Look after your credit. Disinherit your spouse. Change beneficiary designations. Split retirement plans according to the terms of your divorce settlement agreement. Take measures to ensure you receive your spousal and/or child support. Sell or refinance the marital…
A defendant’s attorney inserts handwritten paragraph 3A into an Agreement to Arbitrate that reads, “The parties reserve their rights to appeal the arbitrator’s award to the appellate division as if the matter was determined by the trial court.”  Both sides initialed the inserted paragraph.  Just one problem: to vacate an arbitration award, the matter must first be heard by a Superior Court trial level judge (and not Appellate Division). So How does a Court handle an invalid…
An Appellate Division case is a recent reminder of how to enforce a property settlement agreement (PSA) in a divorce.  Divorces are granted and adjudicated in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of NJ Superior Court.    Chancery Division generally deals with cases that are generally non-monetary.  Special Civil Part is contained in the Law Division of NJ Superior Court (the “special” meaning claims below $15,000).  Law Division generally deals with monetary disputes and the…
If you’re a viewer of Big Bang Theory or perhaps you used to watch Blossom, you know who actress Mayim Bialik is.  In this very candid vlog video, she discusses one aspect of her private divorce — how she and her ex-husband co-parent their two children.  She displays the positive attitude to make co-parenting after a divorce successful. [embedded content]…