Divorce Alternatives: Understanding Mediation and Arbitration

The divorce process can often become excruciating with all the emotionally loaded decisions it entails. There are times when divorcing couples find themselves at a standstill, unable to come to an agreement on certain matters that require their cooperation. Such conflicts are traditionally resolved in the courtroom. A judge presides over the proceedings, hears arguments made by both sides, and makes the final decision. However, for some couples, going through litigation can quickly add pressure to an already stressful situation. Those looking for an alternative can consider either mediation or arbitration to settle any difficult decisions.

According to the website of Marshall & Taylor, P.C., both mediation and arbitration are viable alternatives for divorcing couples looking to avoid the additional stress caused by traditional court proceedings. In mediation, spouses are allowed to settle their disagreements and make negotiations outside the court. They will be guided by a mediator. This mediator won’t be making decisions on behalf of the couple. Instead, he or she will encourage each spouse to dialogue with one another, allowing them to come to decisions together. Through mediation, divorcing spouses can expect to maintain a healthy and respectful relationship that’s necessary for couples who are co-parenting children or are required to interact in professional settings.

If the differences between spouses cannot be settled through mediation, the next option is to undergo arbitration. Through this process, the divorcing couple is given the opportunity to present their differing points of view to an appointed arbitrator. The arbitrator acts in the same way a judge would and is able to make the final decision for the couple. However, unlike divorce litigation, arbitration allows divorcing spouses to define the process of their discussion and set their own deadline for the arbitrator’s decision. This makes for a divorce procedure that can move a lot more quickly and is significantly more cost effective.