Arbitration Is A Binding Process That Provides More Control

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for those who wish to resolve divorce and other family law issues without litigating. Many parties use arbitration in conjunction with mediation. Both processes enlist the assistance of trained, neutral ADR specialists — usually family law attorneys or former family court judges.

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. Parties use arbitration in lieu of litigation. 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, meanwhile, is usually conducted with a single mediator.

Understanding Arbitration

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.

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. Not only do the parties get to choose an arbitrator, they 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 there will be an end result to the process because the arbitrator will make a final, binding decision resolving all issues presented.

Blending Mediation With Arbitration

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.

The lawyers at Ellis Family Law are skilled and knowledgeable arbitrators who are ready to help you resolve your family disputes. Call 866-771-6159 or use our online contact form to schedule a meeting.

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