Ask A Divorce Lawyer: Mediation VS Arbitration

August 23, 2022

If you are looking for an alternative to traditional divorce, then you should speak to a divorce lawyer about mediation and arbitration. Mediation has divorcing spouses discuss issues regarding their divorce with the help of a third party. Arbitration, on the other hand, can be described as a private version of litigation where an arbitrator makes all the decisions, rather than a judge. Below, you will find the processes of mediation and arbitration explained in full.

Ask A Divorce Lawyer: How Does Mediation Work?

Mediation works through negotiations. You and your former spouse will sit down and attempt to negotiate all the issues you need to settle during your divorce. You will discuss who gets custody of the children, who (if anyone) pays spousal support or spousal maintenance, and how assets are divided.

Some couples volunteer to settle their divorce through mediation. Other times, the court may order mediation to help settle a dispute that comes up during your regular litigation hearing. Divorce mediation lawyers in Sugar Land TX are happy to help out in either circumstance.

What Does The Mediator Do?

The mediator will help facilitate calm discussions between you and your former spouse. They also help you identify the real issues you should be discussing. They ask relevant questions and present scenarios that you can discuss with your former spouse. They will not provide opinions or make decisions on your behalf; you and your former spouse have the final say on every decision you need to make.

Why Choose Mediation?

1. It Is Informal

Many people are more comfortable in an informal setting. You may feel that you’re better able to speak up for yourself and discuss issues thoroughly when you are not being hurried along by a busy judge. Plus, the more relaxed rules and regulations of mediation can be very appealing.

2. It Costs Less Than Litigation

A courtroom divorce can cost between $10,000 and $20,000, and sometimes it will cost even more. Mediation is, on average, 70 to 90% less expensive. You will likely still be working with an attorney, but you will have to spend less time doing so than you would during a traditional divorce. This will reduce costs drastically.

3. It Is Confidential

The only part of your mediation that will be public record is the settlement. All the details will remain confidential, and this is not the case with litigation or arbitration.

How Does Arbitration Work?

Arbitration works by having the divorcing spouses prepare cases with their attorneys as they would for a traditional divorce. However, an arbitrator will take the place of a judge, and you will not have to attend a trial in court.

Arbitration takes place in a private setting where only the parties who absolutely need to be there are present. This is typically the divorcing spouses, the attorneys, and the arbitrator. The general proceedings are similar to that of a traditional divorce. The main difference is the absence of a courtroom trial. Plus, it is much harder to appeal a decision made by an arbitrator, and you often will not be able to appeal their decisions at all.

What Does The Arbitrator Do?

The arbitrator essentially acts in place of a judge. They listen to the cases you and your former spouse have built, and they make the final decisions on matters such as custody, child support, spousal support or maintenance, asset division, and so on.

Why Choose Arbitration?

1. It Is Cost-Effective

Arbitration, like mediation, is more cost-effective than litigation. Once again, there are fewer legal fees involved in the process. You will spend less time working with your attorney, and therefore, you will pay them less. Plus, there are no court fees to pay.

2. It Is Private

The details of your divorce will still be a public record, but you will not have to air your dirty laundry in the courtroom. Instead, everything you say will only be heard by the people in the room at the time of your arbitration proceedings.

3. It Is Not Too Formal

Arbitration is much less formal than a court trial. However, it’s more formal than mediation, and the rules are slightly more rigid. This may be a comfortable solution for somebody who would like a middle ground between litigation and mediation formality-wise.

How Should You Choose Between Mediation and Arbitration?

You should always speak to your family attorney before choosing between mediation and arbitration. They will be able to offer you the best advice regarding mediation versus arbitration. In some cases, they may believe neither is suitable for your situation.

Both mediation and arbitration are excellent alternative dispute resolutions for divorcing spouses who wish to avoid a date in court. Speak to your attorney if you would like to know whether mediation or arbitration is best for your circumstances. Both dispute resolutions are more informal, more cost-effective, and less time-consuming than a traditional courtroom divorce.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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