The problem with the story is that the New Jersey Supreme Court did nothing of the kind. Instead, it held that parties to a matrimonial action can submit questions relating to child custody and parenting time to binding arbitration (PDF).
Was this confusion in reporting the result of careless journalism? No doubt. But this also tells me that the ADR field still has plenty of work to do in terms of public education and awareness. Arbitration and mediation are not concepts to be used interchangeably. One is not a synonym for the other. They serve different purposes and produce different outcomes. And we need to help the public – our prospective clients – understand that.
Hat tip to Jim Melamed, Mediate.com’s CEO.