What is arbitration? Put simply, arbitration is the process where a non-judge makes a decision on issues in a divorce that the parties cannot settle. Rather than going through the court system, the parties let a non-judge make a binding decision to allow the divorce process to end. It is an effective and relatively inexpensive way to resolve divorce.
It is increasingly common for divorce cases to be settled before a Trial. Settlement allows parties to maintain control over their case. The spouses can craft solutions for their future that fit in with how they want to move forward. In attempting to settle, there are several different ways to have the process facilitated by a third person. Mediation is a well-known method, wherein a neutral third party tries to help the parties compromise and reach an agreement on at least some of the issues. When mediation and other ways to resolve dispute fail, arbitration is one of the ways to still resolve a divorce without the cost and emotional distress of court.
Arbitration is a process wherein the parties meet with a neutral third party, just like mediation. Unlike mediation, however, this neutral third party will make a binding decision on the issues. Like court, both parties will appear before the arbitrator and present their arguments and their case. The arbitrator will then make a decision based on the information presented. The parties have to agree on whether the case will be submitted to arbitration and which issues the arbitrator has the authority to decide. Importantly, arbitration is binding, just like a court's decision.
The arbitration process has some clear advantages. First, it allows the parties to have the case concluded quicker than it would have been if the parties were forced to wait for a trial date. Second, although a third party is still making the ultimate decisions, the parties maintain control over which decisions will be made. Finally, the parties choose their arbitrator. This means that they can carefully select an arbitrator who has experience in family law. There is no such guarantee that a sitting judge will be as familiar with divorce and family law.
There are some downsides to arbitration. The most notable is that, unlike mediation, the parties lose a degree of control. With mediation, either party may at any time simply walk away from the process and request a final hearing. With arbitration, however, the parties have already committed to allowing the arbitrator to make the final decision. In addition, there are often very limited opportunities to appeal the decision. Finally, arbitration can be costly, although usually much cheaper than a Trial.
Arbitration is an effective way to resolve your divorce or family law problem. Contact us today at 732-529-6937 to make an appointment to talk about your case and your options for settlement.