Is mediation or arbitration right for your divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2023 | Divorce Mediation |

One of the most emotionally draining processes is divorce. Luckily, you have options that may help assuage some of the rigors of a full-court proceeding.

If you and your spouse want to forego a formal divorce hearing and try to settle your affairs out of the courtroom, you may want to try mediation or arbitration. Understanding the differences may help you make a more informed decision about which will work better.

What is mediation?

During mediation, you and your spouse will appear with your counsel before a mediator. This neutral person, chosen by the parties, remains objective throughout. The mediator will help negotiate the terms of your divorce, including financial division, child custody and parenting time.

Any agreement made during mediation is not legally binding, and you or your spouse may change your mind before signing off on it.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration allows you and your spouse to negotiate, but instead of one neutral third party, you do so in front of a panel of three. The panel listens to each side, often separately from the other, and helps guide an amicable conclusion to issues. The panel can also make decisions by majority vote.

The biggest difference between arbitration and mediation is that the agreement you and your spouse reach is legally binding because the panel acts as a judge would. You cannot throw out an arbitration agreement unless you petition the court to modify the decree.

Both mediation and arbitration can cut down on the stress, time and cost of a full-blown divorce proceeding in court. Either process may prove a viable option for finalizing your divorce.