Appeals to Arbitration Agreements in New Jersey

Many couples who have to decide on terms of their divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and division of assets choose to go through arbitration, as opposed to litigation. Arbitration allows litigants to select an arbitrator of their choice.  This gives them more freedom to choose when and how their divorce proceedings will go. However, arbitration provides a very limited judicial review. This means that in the future, it will be harder to appeal for changes once you’ve agreed to the arbitration. Please continue reading and speak with our experienced Bergen County arbitration attorneys to learn more.

A Recent Legal Challenge to an Arbitration Agreement

Recently, in the case K.V.H. v. W.S.H., the New Jersey Appellate Division laid out terms for how a dissatisfied party can challenge the decisions and awards rendered by an arbitrator. In one New Jersey court case, the court found that because these agreements are bound by the New Jersey Arbitration Act, courts can only confirm, vacate entirely or modify/correct an arbitration agreement.

Why is it Difficult to Appeal an Arbitration Agreement in New Jersey?

In the above-mentioned case, K.V.H. v. W.S.H., the Appellate Division dismissed the appeal due to a lack of jurisdiction according to the New Jersey Arbitration Act.  The Court stated that the Act limits judicial review of arbitration awards to only three distinct situations: confirmation, vacation and modification/correction.  That being said, the Arbitration Act, leaves no direct right to appeal. However, a litigant can appeal the trial court’s order on a summary action to confirm, vacate or modify/correct. You should also note that the trial court must review the arbitration award in a summary action to confirm, vacate or modify/correct and enter an order after which a litigant can then file an appeal.

Appealing an arbitration agreement is intentionally difficult as the courts tend to take the simplified position of “a deal is a deal”. This means that challenging the judgment of any arbitration will be an uphill climb at best once it has been confirmed and agreed upon. Needless to say that an experienced arbitration attorney is a must for anyone who seeks to successfully vacate or modify an existing arbitration agreement. Our firm is here to help you. If you need an experienced team of family law attorneys and arbitrators to guide you through every step of the divorce process, look no further–Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark is here to help.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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