(a) Scope of Rule. This Rule applies to all Agreements to Arbitrate ("Agreements") and all Consent Orders to Arbitrate ("Consent Orders"), including but not limited to those entered into pursuant to the Uniform Arbitration Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-1 et seq., the New Jersey Alternative Procedure for Dispute Resolution Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-1 et seq., or any other agreed upon framework for arbitration or resolution of disputes between and among parties to any proceeding heard in the family part, except: (A) the entry of the final judgment of annulment or dissolution of relationship; (B) actions involving the Division of Child Protection and Permanency; (C) domestic violence actions; (D) juvenile delinquency actions; (E) family crisis actions; and (F) adoption actions, which may not be arbitrated.
(1) The Arbitration Questionnaire. The Arbitration Questionnaire, which is set forth in Appendix XXIX-A, shall be signed by each party, attached to the Agreement or Consent Order, and filed with the court.
(2) The Arbitrator Disclosure Form. The Arbitrator/Umpire Disclosure Form, which is set forth in Appendix XXIX-D, shall be signed by the arbitrator/umpire, attached to the Agreement or Consent Order, and filed with the court. The parties must file the Arbitration Questionnaire, the Arbitrator Disclosure Form, and the Agreement or Consent Order before the case is placed on the arbitration track.
(3) Agreement or Consent Order.
(A) The Agreement or Consent Order shall be signed by the parties and shall state:
(i) the parties understand their entitlement to a judicial adjudication of their dispute and are willing to waive that right;
(ii) the parties are aware of the limited circumstances under which a challenge to the award may be advanced and agree to those limitations;
(iii) the parties have had sufficient time to consider the implications of their decision to arbitrate; and
(iv) the parties have entered into the Agreement or Consent Order freely and voluntarily, after due consideration of the consequences of doing so.
(B) In addition, in all family proceedings involving child-custody and parenting-time issues, the Agreement or Consent Order shall provide that:
(i) a record of all documentary evidence shall be kept;
(ii) all testimony shall be recorded verbatim; and
(iii) the award shall state, in writing, findings of fact and conclusions of law with a focus on the best-interests of the child standard.
(C) Further, in all family proceedings involving child support issues, the Agreement or Consent Order shall provide that the award shall state, in writing, findings of fact and conclusions of law with a focus on the best-interests standard, and consistent with R. 5:6A and Rules Appendix IX.
(D) Appendix XXIX-B is a template form of agreement to arbitrate pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-1 et seq.
(E) Appendix XXIX-C is a template form of agreement to resolve disputes pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-1 et seq.
(F) Appendix XXIX-D is a form arbitrator/umpire disclosure.
(c) Arbitration Track. Any action, pre- or post-judgment, pending at the time that an Agreement or Consent Order to arbitrate is reached shall be placed on the Arbitration Track referenced in R. 5:1-4 for no more than one year following Arbitration Track assignment, which term may be extended by the court for good cause shown. Cases assigned to the Arbitration Track should be given scheduling consideration when fixing court appearances in other matters.
Note: Adopted July 27, 2015 to be effective September 1, 2015; subparagraph (b)(1) amended, new subparagraph (b)(2) adopted, subparagraphs (b)(2) and (b)(3) redesignated as subparagraphs (b)(3) and (b)(4) July 29, 2019 to be effective September 1, 2019; subparagraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) amended, subparagraph (b)(4) deleted, and paragraph (c) amended July 30, 2021 to be effective September 1, 2021.