On September 10 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed the NJ Family Collaborative Law Act, S-1224/A-1477 (Weinberg/Diegnan), empowering families to divorce with dignity and self-esteem, without resort to conventional litigation. Widely praised, the new bipartisan law passed through all legislative committees and both Houses without a single ‘no’ vote.
The New Jersey Council of Collaborative Practice Groups and its eight practice groups, consisting of hundreds of collaboratively trained professionals throughout New Jersey was spearheaded passage of the new law that will take effect in December.
This unified and cooperative effort to secure enactment of the new law was led by Council Co-Chairs Linda Piff, Esquire, Anna Maria Pittella, Esquire, and Shireen Meistrich, LCSW. (In the photo below, Shireen Meistrich, pictured center, Linda Piff, front right and Anna Maria Pittella, front left)
Linda Piff, a national expert on collaborative law from Wall Township, said, “The new law will empower families to divorce with privacy and dignity and avoid the emotional and financial strain of conventional litigation. Collaborative law is a powerful idea whose time has come.”
Council Co-Chair, Anna Maria Pittella, Esquire, a prominent collaborative law attorney from Red Bank, said, “This law creates an obligation on an attorney to focus solely on negotiations and to use problem solving skills to break an impasse. It provides for team building that is needed to address all three parts of any divorce: legal, financial, and emotional. The client disqualifies the attorney should the client wish to litigate.”
Finally, Council Co-Chair, Shireen Meistrich, LCSW, and President-Elect of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals from Fair Lawn, said, “I truly believe that the collaborative process is an agent of social change as it has the ability to truly shift the way we think about conflict and how we resolve it.”