It was announced on Monday that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has signed the Irreconcilable Difference bill into law over the weekend.  It takes effect immediately and will also apply to civil unions.  This bill creates a new cause of action for divorcing couples.  The exact wording is as follows:

“Irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.”

If a couple is going through a contentious, litigated divorce, this new cause of action may not translate into a quicker divorce; the court still needs to go through its processes.  Where this becomes beneficial is by allowing a divorcing couple to not have to claim “extreme cruelty” as the cause of action, or wait for an 18 month separation as the current no-fault.

If a couple is mediating their divorce, it should allow for a more speedy and dignified resolution.  It should allow for a smoother divorce since couples wouldn’t have to air their dirty laundry and issue hurtful attacks to get divorced.  This is especially true if there are children involved.  See the very public Michael Strahan or Jason Kidd divorces for examples of ones who are not so smooth and are ultimately harmful to the children.

If you should have any questions about mediation in light of the new law, please let me know.