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Divorces put on hold in two New Jersey counties

A freeze on civil trials has left many seeking recourse in their divorce cases without any options other than to wait. The freeze occurred in Union County, New Jersey, and has left many family law experts wondering what can be done to alleviate the issue.

According to reports, the freeze is due to a lack of available judges and a number of judicial vacancies that have not been filled. Some believe that the economy is part of the issue, as the public sector tries to cut corners and save money where it can. Regardless, the freeze is expected to end in September when divorce cases and other civil trials, likely involving child custody and other important family topics, will begin being heard once more.

The temporary suspension in Union County began in July and has likely caused much stress for families and judges alike. In nearby Essex County, divorce trials have been put on hold since December 2011. They are expected to begin again in September, as well.

Experts have made note of the fact that this should not occur, as the few divorces that make it to trial are often those that are the most contentious. This may mean that the safety of the involved individuals is questionable and could result in unwanted harm if the cases are not tried soon. In addition to safety concerns, many individuals are being emotionally and financially drained by the length of time that they have to wait..

Divorcing parties and their families often want to see the process wrapped up as swiftly as possible but, with these freezes, it is impossible. Even when the temporary suspensions end, many cases will not be heard for some time due to the extensive backlog that has to be addressed. Some believe that these counties should free up some money to lure retired judges back into posts they once filled as their extensive experience may allow them to take care of the backlog in a quick manner.

Source: NJ, "Freezing case trials in Union County causes major damage," Aug. 10, 2012

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