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Mediation Versus Arbitration in a Divorce

Posted on July 14th, 2020 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

Divorce Attorney

Despite the way culture and media tends to portray a divorce, not every split of a relationship has to result in a lengthy, dramatic courtroom battle. In fact, a majority of couples divorcing can reach an amicable divorce settlement without going to trial. To do this, mediation or arbitration, with the help of a divorce lawyer, like a family lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel Wright, may be utilized. In these sessions, a couple can work through the elements and details of a divorce without needing a judge to intervene. By coming to divorce-related agreements through mediation or arbitration you can save time, stress, and money. 

The Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration

Although similar, mediation and arbitration are different. By knowing what makes each option unique, you can make an educated decision on what might be best for your particular situation. If you have further questions, you are invited to speak with a divorce lawyer from [law firm name]. 

Divorce Mediation

Mediation is a process that involves a mediator who will carefully listen to both of you, your arguments, and your concerns. The mediator is an unbiased third party and may also be a private divorce lawyer or other legal professional; however, he or she is not a judge and does not have a final say in the terms of the divorce settlement. The mediator will be there to encourage healthy dialogue and facilitate open communication between both of you. 

It must be understood that the decisions you and your ex come to through mediation will not be binding. Rather, your compromises will be included into the divorce terms which are then submitted to a judge for approval. While most sessions involve only one mediator, you can choose to have your own divorce lawyer present. 

Arbitration for a Divorce

Arbitration is similar to mediation sessions. For example, arbitration does not involve a courtroom or a trial. However, like mediation, everything you and your ex agree to in these sessions must be approved by a judge. The most notable difference between arbitration and mediation is that arbitration will replace the entire trial process by calling upon a panel of professionals who will act as a judge. Typically the panel will consist of three people who will listen to the arguments and concerns of both parties and then make a decision about the divorce settlement terms based on a majority vote. Arbitration can be either formal or informal.

In an arbitration session, you and your ex will state your case. You can opt to have a divorce lawyer to represent you. It is also possible to showcase evidence that supports your argument. The panel will listen and decide on things related to alimony, asset division, debt settlements, child custody, and child support. In arbitration, you and your ex do have the right to negotiate the terms. 

Litigation is Not the Same as Arbitration or Mediation

Mediation and arbitration will include trained professional leaders to guide you both through important decision making. This is useful for any couple who is trying to maintain an amicable relationship, as well as, those who struggle to make decisions. Arbitrators and mediators are unbiased and do not take any sides; nor will they be partial to one of you during the process. 

Both mediation and arbitration tend to be more private and relaxed than traditional divorce court. The sessions are also closed to the public and do not become a part of the public record. Coming to a final settlement also generally takes less time than the process of a divorce trial. As divorce lawyers, we find that most couples will reach their terms in mediation. If that is not possible, arbitration might follow suit, and only if both are unsuccessful will litigation ensue. 

If you are getting a divorce and would like to consider mediation or arbitration, please call a divorce lawyer to learn more about the process and your legal options. 


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