Divorce Mediation or Arbitration?

Some people want to avoid going to court, and we can’t blame them. Testifying in court is stressful, and court proceedings are also public. Do you really want to air your dirty laundry for the enjoyment of other people?

Interest in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has increased over the past few years, and two of the principal ADR techniques are mediation and arbitration. As experienced divorce lawyers, we have experience with both mediation and arbitration in Denver. But is either right for you?

Mediation—Like Negotiation but with Help

Mediation is a popular ADR technique for couples looking to reach an agreement so that they can speed up their divorce. If you can agree on child custody, child support, and the division of marital property, then you can get divorced much quicker than if you need a judge to decide these issues.

This is where mediation comes in. During mediation, you meet with a neutral person, called the mediator. He or she listens to the dispute and helps each side hear where the other is coming from. The mediator is not a judge. She does not pick a winner or loser or assign blame for the divorce in any way. Instead, she helps facilitate discussion so that the couple can reach a compromise.

Once you reach an agreement, you write it up in a settlement agreement and submit it to the court. Even reaching agreement on a few issues can streamline a messy divorce.

Arbitration—Like a Court Trial, but Private

Another form of alternative dispute resolution is arbitration. It is more like a trial than mediation. In arbitration, you submit evidence to an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators). The arbitrator is often a former judge or an experienced attorney, and he will listen to the evidence. You can have witnesses testify and submit documents, just as you would in court. In the end, the arbitration will decide the issue by issuing an award in favor of one party.

One advantage of arbitration is privacy. The proceedings are closed. You ultimately need a judge to confirm the award, but the judge will not hear testimony on the contested issues. If you have a high net worth or want to maintain privacy, then arbitration could be a benefit.

Experienced Denver Divorce Lawyers

ADR is not appropriate in all situations, but it might be just what you are looking for in your divorce. To discuss your options, please contact Divorce Matters today. We offer affordable consultations, which you can schedule by calling 720-580-6745 or submitting an online message.