Divorce is a difficult process to go through. The idea of having to endure an entire trial can be daunting. Despite your differences, you and your ex may wonder if there is a less adversarial way to settle your divorce in a dignified manner, while still leaving you with a settlement that is fair. Two ways to do so are through mediation and arbitration.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. The goal of mediation is for each spouse to work together out of court to create a divorce settlement they are both satisfied with. Mediation is overseen by a neutral third-party mediator. The mediator, unlike a judge, is not a decision maker. Instead, they serve as a facilitator, helping the couple have productive discussions regarding their divorce issues, such as property division, child custody and alimony.
Discussions had during mediation are private. They do not become part of the public record and they cannot be used in a subsequent trial. This often makes couples more open to discussing alternatives that best meet their needs. If mediation results in a divorce settlement, this agreement can be approved by the court thus finalizing the divorce.
What is divorce arbitration?
Divorce arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution. It is a more formal process than mediation, but less formal than a trial. The arbitration process is overseen by an arbitrator who, unlike a mediator, is a decision maker. In arbitration, each spouse will present evidence and bring forth witnesses in support of their position. However, the rules of evidence are more relaxed in arbitration compared to a trial. The goal of arbitration is to reach an agreement without having to go through the stress and expense of an entire trial. Depending on the circumstances, arbitration can be binding or unbinding.
Divorce is an emotional time, but sometimes a couple wants to end things quietly and on their own terms. These couples may be interested in divorce mediation or divorce arbitration. These options allow a couple to cooperate, leading to a divorce decree they are both satisfied with.