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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Mediation. Collaborative Divorce & Arbitration

Are there Alternatives to Divorce Litigation?

In addition to the traditional divorce process, there are other options for those working toward an amicable divorce which comprises alternative options for dissolving your marriage outside of the courtroom. Through the use of collaborative law, the parties can work towards reaching a settlement to make sure the main concerns of the family are taken into account. The cost of divorce can be substantial, but these alternatives can help to minimize the financial and emotional strain that tends to come with the divorce process.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an economical way for parties to work together to meet the best possible settlement available for their family. Although the parties may disagree about things, ADR can help the parties to each work together toward making the decision rather than leaving it to the courts to decide their fate. Additionally, these decisions are made privately, therefore the personal information that is typically brought out in the divorce process will not be documented publicly.

There are many methods of ADR which tend to be attractive to couples attempting to come to a timely, cost effective, and personalized settlement agreement. The main forms include mediation and arbitration. Through those methods, parties will be able to resolve issues including, but not limited to:

  • Child Support
  • Child Custody
  • Martial Support
  • Allocation of Debt and Assets
  • Attorneys’ Fees and Costs

Why Negotiated Settlements Work

In the years following the divorce settlement, the parties will typically require a continued relationship. In particular, for the parties that had children as a result of their marriage, parental coordination is important for their relationship to move forward positive way. Negotiated settlements work to meet the personalized needs of the parties and they typically resolve the issues involving children, property division, and support.

A negotiated settlement can be achieved at any point in the case, so long as both parties have fully disclosed their assets and liabilities, both marital and non-marital, in addition to any pertinent information so they will be able to make an informed decision. In order to ensure the client will be well-informed and protected during the negotiation process, the attorney will work to help the client assess what information and issues may need additional discovery or research prior to the negotiating on a settlement. Depending on the case, it may end with negotiated settlements early on, or parties may settle just before trial. In either case, throughout the process the attorney’s attempting to reach a negotiated settlement will consider the emotional concerns of the parties as they work towards reaching the most suitable option available.

Why Collaborative Divorce Works

A family going through divorce has numerous challenges to be overcome. Collaborative divorce is a non-adversarial process with a goal of meeting the legitimate needs of everyone involved in the process. It helps to promote effective communication between the parties, helps to reduce the stress that accompanies divorce, and results in higher chances that the parties will not have to return to court in the future.

First, the parties will start the collaborative divorce process by retaining their own lawyers. Next, the parties will commit to resolving the divorce issues through the collaborate process and agree to stay out of court aside from finalizing the divorce. Then, because collaborative divorce take a team approach, in addition to the attorneys, a team may include specially trained professionals to help the divorce move forward. Some examples professionals that may be a part of a collaborative team may be a financial specialist, a child specialist, and a divorce coach.

After that, there will be a good faith exchange of all information necessary for the conflict to be properly resolved. Finally, once the parties reach an agreement, there will be a final hearing in which they will finalize their divorce in court.

Why Mediation Works

Mediation is a non-binding confidential process where a mediator is selected by the parties to assist in the resolution of disputes with a voluntary agreement. Mediation aims to reduce the economic and emotional costs that come with a divorce by coming to an agreement that is unbiased and fair to both parties that also meets the best interests of the minor children in a family going through a divorce.

Mediators represent neither party individually. They are neutral third parties that meet with the parties to reach a negotiated settlement in the best interests of all those involved. During the mediation process, the mediator works to accomplish many objectives including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Identify issues
  • Discuss ways to resolve issues
  • Develop parenting plans
  • Focus on the best interests of the children
  • Create financial agreements

Why Arbitration Works

To help mitigate the negative effects that a divorce can have on a family, many divorcing couples consider arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution option. Arbitration is a way for the couples to settle their divorce outside of court, which helps to avoid many costs and tends to be much less lengthy than litigation. Arbitration differs from mediation because in arbitration, a judgment on a case can be made, which is not the case for a mediation.

Arbitration can address many important topics of divorce, including but not limited to:

  • Child custody
  • Property division
  • Child support
  • Spousal support

There are many benefits that come with utilizing the ADR of arbitration. Typically, arbitration is more economically efficient than traditional litigation. Also, arbitration tends to be quicker than litigating in court. Furthermore, arbitration is private, which helps parties to be heard without being part of public record. In addition, arbitration is an informal process and tends to be more flexible in scheduling hearings and discovery and the presentation of evidence. Finally, the couple has a choice in who their arbitrator is.

Have questions? Contact us about working together.

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