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Arbitration in Divorce and Family Law Cases

Arbitration in Divorce and Family Law Cases

Arbitration in the context of a divorce or family law case is a proceeding in which an impartial adjudicator resolves a dispute by imposing a decision that the parties have agreed to or law has decreed and which is final and binding. Therefore, unlike mediation, arbitration imposes a decision on the parties upon a review of the evidence; the decision is legally binding on both sides and is enforceable by law. There are limited rights of review and appeal of arbitration decisions. Arbitration can be utilized by parties in divorce cases when both parties mutually agree or have previously agreed to submit to the process.

However, divorce and family law arbitration can be either voluntary or mandatory (it is only mandatory in the case of a prior voluntary agreement that the parties shall resolve all existing or future disputes through arbitration).

One distinct advantage arbitration has over divorce and family law litigation is that the parties can choose their tribunal whereas in litigation you cannot choose the judge. Like mediation, arbitration is often more efficient, both in regards to time and money, and is more flexible than going through the court system.

However, it is also important to note that if the arbitration is mandatory and binding, it can require a waiver of rights to a judge and a jury trial. Additionally, discovery could be limited or nonexistent, so if your case depends on information or documentation from a third party or your spouse that you do not yet have, arbitration may not be the best route for your case.

Generally, mediation is the more popular method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) because of its flexible and non-binding nature. However, arbitration could be the best option for your specific case, and thus you should talk to your family law attorney about what the best way to protect your rights is. Whether you are thinking of including an arbitration clause into your prenuptial agreement, or are wondering what the best method to settle your divorce is, our experienced attorneys can help you protect your rights and secure the best possible rights.

Call 770-609-1247 today to discuss with one of our experienced divorce attorneys how arbitration or other alternative dispute resolution processes can help you.

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