No two divorces are exactly the same. What works for one couple may not be the best option for another. For example, while some couples can negotiate a fair divorce settlement, others have to let a judge settle property division and custody issues. Sometimes, litigation is not the answer. For couples that are looking for another route, there are Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods that might be more effective.
If you and your spouse are looking for another way to work out the details of your divorce, such as which one of you gets the main residence in Westerville, who gets the vacation house, how to divide the retirement accounts, and how to effectively raise the kids, then an ADR method might be your answer. Two of the most common types of ADR are mediation and arbitration. Knowing the difference between mediation and arbitration can help you choose a method that suits your needs.
Mediation tends to be an informal process that an impartial third party mediates. The purpose of the mediator is to help you and your spouse work toward a solution that you both agree on. The mediator will help the two of you clarify what you each want from the settlement and guide you in finding a compromise.
Once the two of you come to an agreement, you will sign a contract that specifies the terms of your agreement. By successfully completing the mediation process, you and your spouse will stay in control of the divorce without letting a judge make all the decisions for you. In most cases, you and your spouse must be on somewhat friendly terms in order to complete the process. If the two of you are unable to communicate enough to come to an agreement through mediation, then litigation might be the only solution.
In an arbitration situation, you and your spouse will agree to allow a neutral third-party to resolve your divorce outside of the public eye. When a judge presides over your divorce, the process can be very public. If the two of you would like to retain your privacy, arbitration may be your best option.
In general, arbitration is a simpler version of bringing your divorce to the courtroom. The rules and procedures are typically much less complex and the arbitrators tend to have more flexibility when it comes to making a determination. Once you and your spouse present your cases, the arbitrator will decide on a settlement.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to remember that you have options to choose from. Your divorce attorney can help you decide if mediation, arbitration or litigation is the best option for your situation.