On November 13, Asm. Patrick Diegnan was recognized for his outstanding leadership by the New Jersey Council of Collaborative Practice Groups at a reception held at Olio’s in Woodbridge. Asm. Diegnan was a prime sponsor and spearheaded passage of the New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Act (NJFCLA) in the State Legislature.
The new law. P.L. 2014, C. 50, empowers families to divorce with dignity and self-esteem, without resort to conventional litigation. Widely praised, the new bipartisan law passed all legislative committees and both Houses without a single ‘no’ vote. And the new law gained widespread endorsement of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), New Jersey Law Revision Commission (NJLRC), and all five New Jersey Uniform Law Commissioners.
Speaking upon passage of the new Act, Asm. Diegnan, from Middlesex County, said, “Our judicial system benefits when everyone sits down together and
collaboratively work out solutions to issues that a family understands far better than any judge, attorney or third party. You get better
outcomes when people respectfully talk out their problems instead of running towards the courtroom.”
In her opening remarks upon receiving the Council’s award for her work on passage of the new Act, Asw. Schepisi, from Bergen County, said,
“Once the decision to divorce, there is an emotional and financial toll on couples and families. This new law empowers couples and families to divorce with dignity and respect, supporting them. It is a better solution to a very difficult problem.”
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 and members of the Council’s Legislative Committee.
Linda Piff, Esquire 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.”
The NJ Council of Collaborative Practice Groups also recognized Thomas Lynch, Chief of Staff to Asm. Diegnan, and Laura C. Tharney, Esq., Executive Director of the NJ Law Revision Commission for their outstanding servic
The New Jersey Council of Collaborative Practice Groups supports excellence among the community of collaborative professionals, and promotes and expands the use of quality Collaborative Practice throughout New Jersey. The Council serves as a unified voice and central resource for education, training, networking and development of standards of practice as well as expanding public and professional awareness.