Personal Injury Arbitration

New Jersey code § 2A:23A-20 requires personal injury cases be submitted to arbitration when the amount in dispute is $20,000 or less. Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution intended to resolve a parties’ issues outside of Court. The process is less complex and formal than Court, and often can be concluded more quickly and less expensively.

Instead of a judge or a jury, an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators,  hears the evidence, then makes a decision and issues an award. Arbitrators in New Jersey are retired superior court judges or attorneys who have at least seven years experience in their particular area of the law. They are chosen by the Assignment Judge, based on recommendations from the bar association.

There are standard procedures for arbitration, with both sides being given a chance to present their case, submit evidence, and make arguments. Unlike mediation, arbitration is an adversarial process with the parties working against each other.

The arbitrator decides who is right and who is wrong and does not attempt to find a middle ground in order to make both parties happy. The arbitrator’s decision is non-binding, meaning if a party is unhappy with the decision, they may reject the award and choose to go to Court.

Calculating Child Support

There are two main types of child support guidelines, percentage of the obligor’s income and the income shares model. Percentage of the obligor’s income model is based simply upon taking a set percentage of the obligor’s income as their child support obligation. Some states do the calculation based on gross income and others on net income.

NJ Child Support, how to calculate:

Child support calculations in New Jersey are based on the income shares model. The foundation of this model is that the child should receive the same proportion of the parent’s income as he or she would receive if his or her parents still lived together.  Therefore, the model takes into account the income of both parents, as well as costs for medical insurance and childcare. A basic calculation under this model consists of four steps:

  1. The income of both parents is calculated and combined.
  2. A basic support obligation based on the combined income is taken from a chart in the Child Support Guidelines.
  3. The basic support obligation is divided between the parents according to the percentage of income they contribute to the combined income.
  4. Credits are added for payment of healthcare insurance, childcare expenses and other factors as the Court determines appropriate.

 

Alimony in New Jersey

New Jersey family law allows the Court to order a party to pay one or more of the following types of alimony: permanent alimony, rehabilitative alimony, limited duration alimony, and reimbursement alimony. When determining whether to award alimony to a party, the Court considers the following:

  1. The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;
  2. The duration of the marriage or civil union;
  3. The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
  4. The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living;
  5. The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;
  6. The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
  7. The parental responsibilities for the children;
  8. The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
  9. The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;
  10. The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;
  11. The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;
  12. The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment; and
  13. Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

New Jersey Family Law: Types of Alimony

Reimbursement alimony may be awarded under circumstances in which one party supported the other while he or she was obtaining an advanced degree, anticipating participation in the fruits of the earning capacity generated by that education.  When a marriage is of a long duration and caused one spouse to become financially dependent on the other, the Court may consider an award of permanent alimony in order to allow that spouse to maintain the standard of living they to which they have become accustomed. Limited duration alimony may be awarded to a spouse with a significantly lower income for a period that the Court considers reasonable for that spouse to increase their earning capacity to a level where alimony is no longer appropriate. Rehabilitative alimony is a short-term award that is meant to enable a spouse to obtain job training or a college degree in order to re-enter the workforce.