Hon. James A. Farber, (Ret.)

Judge Farber graduated law school in 1976 and began his career as a public servant, working for the City of Paterson. During his more than eight years as a city employee, the judge worked in and for several city departments in various capacities, including a seventeen-month stint as the City Business Administrator. In the latter position, he was extremely involved in and led negotiations with employees’ unions, litigation adversaries and the city’s vendors.

After leaving the public sector, Judge Farber entered private practice, first as an associate and then partner with a top-notch powerhouse Bergen County law firm with offices first in Hackensack and then Teaneck. During his seventeen years with the law firm, the judge was a lead transactional attorney responsible for the negotiation, preparation and oversight of all manner of contracts and other legal documents.

In 2001 Judge Farber was honored with a nomination to the Superior Court, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an attorney. After 15 years on the bench, Judge Faber was universally respected and admired by the attorneys and litigants who appeared before him. He exemplified the gold standard for our Judiciary in every meaningful way. His fifteen years on the bench were spent entirely in the Family Division except for a two-year stint in the Civil Division. With only two Judges handling all the Family Part matters in Sussex County, he was required to be intricately involved in all eleven family dockets. His workload always included one-half of the County’s matrimonial cases, the bulk of his job. In addition, the last decade on the court also necessitated that he preside over virtually all the Children in Court cases for the County.

Notwithstanding the constant demands for trials and conferences, unlike other areas of the court, Judges in the Family Part are continually faced with a nearly insurmountable mountain of material to read, dissect and analyze. Experienced matrimonial attorneys unanimously ask for two basic qualities in a Judge rendering a decision. The first is for the court to read the papers. It is immediately evident to every attorney who appears before a court whether the Judge has reviewed a motion, read the certifications and all the attachments. On a typical motion day with dozens of motions on his calendar, Judge Farber would time and time again display an intimate and impressive knowledge of the facts and the nuanced issues.

The second most important quality is for the court to make a contemporaneous decision. Every attorney voices the same complaint that all too often decisions take weeks, if not months, before they are made oftentimes after the issues have been rendered moot. Judge Farber’s unwavering practice was to make his decision on motion day and require the parties to prepare an order reflecting the court’s decision before they left for the day. This one act is reflective of Judge Farber’s ability to timely decide issues and provide the litigants with a path to resolution, a quality that will make Judge Farber a much sought after mediator and arbitrator.

Judge Farber tried an average of fifteen divorce cases per year, approximately ten termination of parental rights or child neglect and abuse cases per year and upwards of eighty domestic violence final hearings per year. He also tried juvenile matters and adoption issues. Amongst the family dockets, most cases are resolved before trial by way of settlement. Judge Farber was instrumental in offering creative solutions to complex problems. He participated in dispute resolution at all stages of the legal proceedings. He mediated cases between litigants in sessions with the parties, and where represented, the parties’ attorneys, assisting them forge agreements thereby obviating the need for trial, or substantially narrowing the issues. It is estimated that Judged Farber mediated an amazing 150-200 matrimonial cases yearly, enmeshing himself in custody/parenting disputes and disagreements over financial obligations.