When couples are going through a divorce, they may assume that they will be required to go to court to resolve disagreements. While that may be true in some situations, there is an opportunity for them to participate in alternative dispute resolution. There are two types of alternative dispute resolution they may want to consider, mediation and arbitration.
A mediator can help the parties find a solution to their concerns and work toward a settlement that both believe is fair. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps to facilitate the discussion, however he or she does not make decisions about the outcome. In a divorce case, the mediator may help parents decide child custody matters and parenting time, for example.
Each party will have an opportunity to meet with the mediator and explain his or her position. They can also ask the mediator to make a recommendation about any issues they aren’t able to resolve.
Mediation can be faster and cost less than a traditional court process. The settlement discussions are also confidential in most situations.
In an arbitration, the parties choose a neutral person to make a decision for them. The parties can make statements and present evidence to the arbitrator.
The arbitrator’s decision is usually binding and becomes part of the final order, even if one or both of the parties do not agree with it. If it is binding, the court can enforce it and it may only be appealed in limited circumstances.
An experienced attorney can provide additional information about alternative dispute resolution options and related family law matters.