Choosing Mediation & Arbitration: Pros and Cons

Divorce can be a challenging and often emotionally charged process, and many people don't realize the options available to them when it comes to resolving disputes. While fighting in court may seem like the default choice, two alternative dispute resolution methods, mediation and arbitration, can make the process smoother and more cost-effective.

In this blog post, we'll discuss the pros and cons of mediation and arbitration to help you make an informed decision for your divorce.

What is Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a collaborative process that offers couples an efficient solution to their divorce proceedings. With the help of a neutral third-party professional mediator, spouses can maintain control of the outcome while working together to find fair solutions.

During mediation, couples can address various issues such as custody arrangements, support payments, and more. Rather than taking a combative approach, divorce mediation provides a platform for couples to work together and pursue a mutually satisfactory resolution.

Mediation Pros & Cons

Advantages of Divorce Mediation

  • Cost-effective: Mediation generally costs less than litigation since you're avoiding court fees and long, drawn-out trials.
  • Control: Both parties retain decision-making power, allowing you to create a customized agreement that suits your needs and preferences.
  • Confidentiality: Mediation sessions are private and confidential, reducing the risk of sensitive information becoming public.
  • Time: Mediation is often quicker than going through a protracted court battle.
  • Emotional relief: Mediation can help reduce conflict by encouraging cooperation and communication, leading to more amicable results.

Disadvantages of Divorce Mediation

  • No guarantee: Mediation doesn't always end in an agreement, potentially leading parties back to court.
  • Lack of legal advice: Mediators do not give you legal advice as a divorce attorney would.
  • Honesty: If either spouse is not being truthful or honest, mediation is not appropriate.
  • Urgency: If your marriage involves domestic violence, there may be unequal bargaining power in the mediation process. As such, mediation is not an appropriate method to dissolve a marriage involving domestic violence.

What Is Arbitration?

Arbitration is another dispute resolution process wherein a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, listens to both sides and makes a binding decision. The parties present evidence and argue their case to the arbitrator, who then makes a ruling, much like a judge.

Arbitration Pros & Cons

Advantages of Arbitration

  • Speed: Arbitration is usually faster than a court trial, resulting in quicker rulings on preliminary issues.
  • Expertise: Parties have the option to choose an arbitrator with specific experience in their matters, potentially leading to a better-informed decision.
  • Flexibility: Unlike scheduling trials into court calendars, arbitration hearings can be easier to schedule. Between the arbitrator and the two parties, finding time to schedule an arbitration hearing can be more convenient.
  • Privacy: Unlike a trial, arbitration can be resolved privately.

Disadvantages of Arbitration

  • No appeals: Arbitration is a binding decision that may be advantageous for one party but not for the other. An arbitration provides little to no right to appeal.
  • Cost: While arbitration can be faster and less formal than a trial, it can still be expensive, considering filing fees and the arbitrator's fees. For example, if the process includes extensive delays, the costs can add up quickly.
  • Enforcement: Your arbitrator cannot enforce a ruling. If your spouse does not comply with an order, you may have to go to court to have them comply.

Get in Touch with Our Attorneys

If you are going through the divorce process, it's important to determine which method will work best for you and your spouse when it comes to settling disputes. Choosing between mediation and arbitration can be a critical decision that requires careful consideration.

Before making a decision, it's important to assess the complexity of your case and determine what method will be most effective. At Fresh Start Family Law, our mediation and arbitration services can help you find solutions to dissolving your marriage.

Call us today at (919) 849-5744 to learn more or fill out our form online.