Most people consider divorce proceedings as ugly, drawn-out trials where people are at loggerheads with each other. But why should divorces always be acrimonious? We shouldn’t be at each other’s throats when there are easier ways of resolving issues.
So, for all those who don’t want to end things on a bitter note and continue with the friendship, arbitration is one of the options that they can try. More often than not, the resolution is faster with the arbitration. Let’s find out more about arbitration and how it is useful to resolve divorce cases more efficiently.
What is Divorce Arbitration?
Arbitration is another way of dispute resolution, an alternative for a lawsuit. The opposing parties find a solution without going through a lawsuit.
Both the parties come up with relevant evidence, which an arbitrator reviews and decides on the solution.
The Process of Divorce Arbitration
Arbitration is one of the many processes that can resolve disputes between divorcing parties. It is useful when the couples have reached an impasse in their divorce negotiations and wish to resolve their problems without going to court. Divorce Arbitration is a type of divorce trial, but instead of going to the public courtroom, couples head towards a private setting before an Arbitrator. This setting is an arbitration hearing and occurs at a time and place convenient to all parties, unlike a court trial, which is as per a trial judge’s availability.
The case proceeds with each party testifying under oath and presenting evidence, the admissibility of this happens after discussing it with everyone. Next, the record of the proceedings is maintained with the help of a live reporter and other times electronically for future reference. Either party can call on witnesses to testify. After the conclusion of the proceedings, the arbitrator issues their decision which is binding, except, of course, for rare cases. The court then confirms the award after granting the actual divorce.
It Can Deal with Multiple Issues
Divorce arbitration can deal with numerous marital or civil union dissolution issues. It can include custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, division of multiple issues such as marital assets/liabilities, and other issues.
It is also a great alternative for post-divorce settings in parental relocation and change-in-circumstances cases. Most courts face a significant backlog. In this case, because of multiple benefits of privacy and quick resolution, divorce arbitration is becoming more popular by the day and often the first choice between the divorcing parties.
Arbitration Vs. Litigation
Before choosing one over the other, you must understand the difference between arbitration or litigation for divorce. The main difference is that one facilitates negotiation, and the other involves a court-like proceeding. In arbitration, you present your case to the arbitrator hoping that the arbitrator will rule in your favor.
An arbitration procedure often resembles a divorce trial in appearance and feel. However, minus the full expense and the animosity that a court-ordered divorce trial involves. However, the procedure counts as a judicial one.
One can appeal the decision in terms of litigation. If you are unhappy with the outcome, you can also appeal against the decision. Apart from that, everything happens in court. There are arguments and counter-arguments when the case goes to trial.
The Key Advantages
Most courts have limited capacity due to the COVID-19 crisis. It usually means that courts push trials out as they have limited motions. Arbitration then gives us the option to move forward on their time scale rather than waiting for the court summons.
If the parties agree upon an arbitrator quite early in the case, an added advantage may be having the same arbitrator hearing the preliminary motions and the final trial. There are many motions that a different department hears at court than at the trial. And sometimes, there is a switch for a different judge at the last minute. Having one arbitrator throughout the entire procedure is a clear advantage as they know about the ins and outs of the case by the time it hits trial.
While divorce is usually one of the most unpleasant experiences, arbitration can make the entire experience a lot less traumatic. It is a better experience for all those involved.
Ensure you are comfortable with the arbitrator and those involved in the proceeding.