Resolutions Outside of Court

Ellis Family Law

At Ellis Family Law, P.L.L.C., our attorneys have earned their reputations as effective litigators, but they are also highly regarded in successfully resolving their client’s disputes outside of the courtroom through various forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a process that allows spouses the opportunity to resolve their marital disputes without the threat of litigation. The overall tone of a collaborative divorce is respect and transparency.

To initiate the process, both parties must sign a written agreement reflecting their willingness to participate. That agreement will outline principles and guidelines that both parties must comply with in good faith. For example, the parties must give complete, full, honest and open disclosure of all relevant information with the goal of reaching a settlement of all issues. The key difference between the collaborative process and other alternative dispute methods is that attorneys for both parties are required to withdraw should the collaborative process be unsuccessful. This requirement motivates parties to make a genuine effort to resolve their issues in the process to avoid obtaining new counsel.

After the parties and their attorneys sign the written agreement, they participate in face-to-face meetings that allow the parties to discuss their disputes directly with the assistance of their attorneys.

There are many other benefits to the collaborative process, such as:

  • The focus is problem solving instead of one spouse "winning" and the other spouse "losing."
  • The parties set the pace of the process as opposed to the pace being mandated by the court process.
  • A voluntary disclosure of all information material to the resolution of the dispute. This allows the spouses to be on equal footing and promotes trust as they navigate the settlement process.
  • An overall cooperative dynamic allowing spouses to communicate freely and honestly. This dynamic minimizes conflict and hostility.
  • No public record is created from the process reflecting the parties’ settlement unless they choose to do so for the purpose of memorializing their settlement terms.
  • Neutral specialists in finance or in child psychology may be called in to help provided informed decision-making.

At Ellis Family Law you will be represented by a collaboratively trained specialist who will provide guidance and support through the collaborative process from start to finish.

In addition to a collaborative divorce, there are other alternative dispute methods available to resolve conflict.


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 control over when and how they resolve their issues, it often results in a better working relationship in the future. This is important when the parties have minor children and will continue to share parenting duties.

Mediation is often most successful when both parties are vested in reaching a resolution outside of court. Our team is experienced and knowledgeable in private mediation, both as advocates for a party and as serving as the neutral mediator. We also serve clients who choose the arbitration process or a blend of the two.

It is not always necessary to have independent counsel to represent each party in mediation. However, a mediator cannot give specific legal advice to the parties involved. If we serve as a mediator for unrepresented parties, our staff can walk you through the process so you are 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 or her choosing to ensure 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.


The main difference between mediation and arbitration is that in mediation the parties determine their outcome by reaching an agreement with the help of a third party who facilitates communication between them, while arbitration leaves the outcome up to a third party to determine. In some instances, both parties select an arbitrator to serve in the process, and those two arbitrators select a third arbitrator. Majority decisions rule. Mediation is usually conducted with a single mediator.

Arbitration is akin to litigation, but in a more private, scheduled and controlled environment. Through arbitration, a neutral third party decides any issues that the parties cannot, but as opposed to the parties' family details being aired in a public courtroom arbitration is done in a private conference room.

Sometimes, a blend of mediation and arbitration (also known as med-arb) helps parties resolve their disputes. In the med-arb process, the parties attempt mediation. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement through mediation, the mediator will make the decision as an arbitrator at the end of the mediation session.

We Are Here To Help

The lawyers at Ellis Family Law are skilled and knowledgeable in all forms of ADR. We are ready to help you resolve your family disputes with less stress and more cooperation. Call 866-771-6159 or use our online contact form to schedule a meeting.

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