Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provides potential litigants with an opportunity to resolve conflict without incurring the time, expense and emotional toll inherent in litigation. The two most common forms of ADR are mediation and arbitration. Both mediation and arbitration are commonly used in family law cases.
In mediation, the parties rely on an attorney trained in mediation to assist them in making agreed upon decisions, which might entail how best to divide a divorcing couple’s property, or what custodial arrangement would work best for separated parents.
The crux of mediation is a willingness by both parties to participate in the voluntary process combined with a shared goal of reaching a solution. A skilled mediation will appropriately guide the conversation, facilitate civil discussion, clarify issues and questions, summarize agreements and help set goals or arrange for next steps for issues that cannot be resolved.
Once an agreement is reached, each party shall rely on their own independent counsel to review and advise them on the agreement.
In situations where the parties have not engaged in mediation, or mediation has not resulted in a final resolution, the parties may elect to engage in binding arbitration. Arbitration replaces the court system, putting the arbitrator in the role of a Judge. This can be an appropriate path for a number of reasons including sensitive case issues/facts and a desire for an expedited decision without the stress and angst of a trial.
Our attorneys handle both arbitration and mediations for family law matters. If you are interested in learning more or if you are looking for an attorney to review an agreement reached using Alternative Dispute Resolution, please reach out for more information.