A court hearing is not required for a divorce or legal separation to determine how property will be divided, who will have custody of the children, and how frequent visitation can take place. However, a court hearing to decide the details of a divorce is not an option and is considered the last resort.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options such as mediation or arbitration can be used to help both parties reach a solution they can live with privately and without causing any conflict. A hearing in family court may be required in some states.
What is Mediation?
Mediating is where an impartial professional assists both sides to reach mutually acceptable solutions to their issues regarding divorce or separation. Mediators are impartial professionals who help both sides discuss their desired outcomes, but they don’t make any decisions. Your mediator will draft a memorandum to understanding, which is non-binding.
Mediation is a cost-effective way to end a marriage. You don’t need to hire legal counsel to facilitate mediation. A mediator must be impartial and not offer advice to either side.
Mediation can be used to resolve some issues first, and then you can take the remaining issues to an arbitrator.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration may be the best alternative if you and your partner are unable to agree on the outcome. Arbitration allows for binding judgments, whereas mediation is not binding. First, you and your partner must agree on who the arbitrator will be. He/she will act as a private judge. The arbitrator does not have to be a judge. They could also be an accountant or attorney.
Arbitration can be a trial-like process where each party may present evidence or employ witnesses to support their case. It is more contentious than mediation and feels similar to a trial. It is important that the arbitration agreement adheres to all requirements. To make your arbitration agreement legally binding, it must be approved by a public judge.
Pros of mediation and arbitration
These can help you save both time and money. A divorce proceeding in court can take up to a year. Alternative dispute resolution may be able to end your divorce proceedings in a matter of weeks. Avoiding trial, even if you retain legal counsel, can help preserve assets. The legal costs for appearing in court may be significant.
They keep family matters private. Public records can be made public if there …