If you and your spouse are planning to divorce and have a disagreement, your issue does not necessarily have to go to court. There are two processes that you may want to consider, called mediation and arbitration.
These alternative dispute processes may be faster and less expensive than going to court if you and your spouse are willing to work together.
In mediation, a neutral and impartial third party, called a mediator, can help you and your spouse during your divorce. They are trained in family law and dispute resolution. The mediator does not make decisions for you, but they can help you and your spouse agree on outstanding issues like property division, spousal support or child support.
If you and your spouse would like to choose a mediator on your own, you may have the option to do that. Otherwise, the court will appoint a mediator. During the mediation, the mediator will facilitate communication between you and your spouse and can help draft a written agreement that will be submitted to the court for approval.
Arbitration is a second alternative dispute resolution option where a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, makes a binding decision for you and your spouse. Usually, the arbitration process starts when you and your spouse discuss the issues that need to be decided with the arbitrator.
You and your spouse can present evidence and arguments to the arbitrator, who will make an enforceable decision. Generally, an arbitrator’s decision is final and there are few opportunities to appeal.
If you and your spouse cannot resolve your concerns through alternative dispute resolution, you still have the option to go to court.