Mediation/Arbitration Services

Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney

Serving the Triangle Area

At Ellis Family Law, PLLC, we don't tell you what you want to hear, we tell you what you need to hear. There is a difference between "moral" justice and "legal" justice; and clients need to hear that the Court system cannot give you "moral" justice. Ellis Family Law, PLLC, has not only made its reputation through honed litigation skills but also through strategic settlement negotiations. Ellis Family Law Through their experiences the Ellis Family Law team knows how to best advise their clients on how, when and under what terms to settle their matters to maximize their success. Simply put, there are times when litigation can do more harm than good, but having a good litigator who can help you make that decision is key when considering resolution of your matters through an alternative approach. Litigation is not necessary for all families, and can sometimes be avoided if the parties attempt to resolve their conflicts through Alternative Dispute Resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration. These services enable a couple to resolve issues arising from their relationship in a more humane, and often less expensive, manner. All issues arising from your marriage can be addressed through Alternative Dispute Resolution methods, except for the entry of an absolute divorce judgment. However, through Alternative Dispute Resolution, all matters that typically are litigated with such high emotion and costs, i.e., custody, support, property division, are resolved well before the divorce judgment is entered, so that the divorce action becomes a "friendly lawsuit." Mediation and arbitration can, and often does, occur prior to the parties' actual separation date, so that everyone is as prepared as possible emotionally and financially for the next chapter in their lives. It is generally the best possible way to facilitate a separation with as much information about what to expect as possible.


Mediation is a private discussion between the parties, which is facilitated by a trained mediator, in an effort to help the parties reach consensus on how to resolve their disputes. When the parties have the control over when and how they resolve their issues, the parties are often able to maintain a working relationship with each other in the future. This is very important when the parties have minor children together. Mediation is often most successful when both parties are vested to reaching a resolution outside of Court, and frankly, most people seem to be. Our team at Ellis Family Law, PLLC is experienced and knowledgeable in private mediation, both as advocates for a party and as serving as the neutral mediator. It is not always necessary to have independent counsel to represent each party in a mediation session. However, a mediator cannot give specific legal advice to the parties involved. When we serve as a mediator for unrepresented parties, our staff can walk you through the process so that you come prepared to make decisions to resolve your disputes that day. Our mediator will draft the proposed agreement reached, and each party is free to take the draft to counsel of his/her choosing to ensure that their rights are protected before signing. This keeps the parties costs down as the mediator fees are typically split between the parties, and everyone, the parties and mediator, have a vested interest in the matter reaching resolution.


Arbitration is akin to litigation, but in a more private, scheduled, and controlled environment. Through arbitration a neutral third party will decide any issues that the parties cannot, but as opposed to the parties' family details being aired in a public courtroom, this is done in our private conference room. As opposed to the court telling the parties when they will appear, and then not reaching the matter for hearing for hours (and sometimes days), when you are scheduled for arbitration, you are the only case scheduled and you are heard. The parties get to determine the rules of the arbitration, how evidence will be presented, whether all witnesses have to be present or can testify by phone or through affidavits, etc. This is often crucial for out-of-State witnesses or those who simply cannot participate in a litigation setting due to other obligations. The benefit to arbitration is that there will be an end result to the process because the arbitrator will make a final, binding decision resolving all issues presented.

Sometimes a blend of both mediation and arbitration (a/k/a "Med-Arb") is what parties need to get their matter resolved. In a med-arb, the parties attempt mediation. If they can reach agreement, the matter is resolved. However, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the mediator will make the decision as an arbitrator at the end of the mediation session.

Did you Know?

-You and your spouse can choose to participate in mediation or arbitration without hiring separate counsel. This keeps your costs down, and often the process is less adversarial.

-Mediation can result in a better result than you may receive in court since the parties know what works best for each of them, and the court is often bound by archaic rules of law that do not apply to today's modern lifestyle.

Contact Us

No matter which alternative dispute resolution method you choose, the professionals at Ellis Family Law are skilled and knowledgeable in each, and are ready to help you get your family disputes behind you.

Email us for a Response