Which act is it better to arbitrate under, the UAA or the APDRA?
When agreeing to family law arbitration, the parties must identify under what law or framework they are arbitrating.
The APDRA has been in existence since 1987 and was intended to expedite civil cases. Under the APDRA, there are provisions for “umpires,” as well as other sections that are geared toward civil litigation. See N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-9; N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-25 (addresses awards in excess of $20,000); N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-27 (payment of fees). There is limited intermediate review of interim awards. N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-7.
It is suggested that the preferable framework for family law cases is the UAA. N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-1 to 36. The UAA is a comprehensive but “default act,” which means that many, but not all, of its provisions can be waived or modified by consent to tailor the process to the needs and desires of the parties. N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-1, Assembly Judiciary Committee Statement.
Under the UAA, the court can grant relief until the arbitrator is selected so there is always a path to relief. An arbitrator’s discovery orders, protective orders and subpoenas will be enforced by the court. N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-17. Pendente lite arbitration awards can be confirmed by the court on an expedited basis. N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-18.
Arbitration awards can be corrected by the arbitrator. N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-20. The reasons why an arbitration award can be vacated are set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-23.
The UAA permits appeals of court orders for 3 reasons, including an order confirming or denying confirmation of an arbitration award, an order modifying or correcting an award or an order vacating an award without directing a rehearing or a final judgment entered under the UAA. N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-28.