In divorce cases, you and your spouse are given the opportunity to negotiate agreements concerning child custody, spousal support, division of property, child support, etc. If you are unable to reach agreement, the case will go to trial. At trial the judge will listen to both stories, hear from pertinent witnesses, weigh the evidence presented, and then tell you how the issues will be settled. Divorce trials are expensive, painful, and when all is said and done, seldom is either party satisfied.
A divorce trial is not always the best and should only be used as a last resort. Alternative Dispute Resolution offers you other options including mediation and arbitration.
Mediation involves meeting with a trained and qualified Divorce Mediator. The role of a Divorce Mediator is to remain neutral, not give advice, watch for imbalances of power, and assist in communication and the exchange of information. When agreements are reached both parties should present them to their divorce attorney for review. If the divorce attorneys are satisfied, it is presented to the court for approval as an uncontested divorce. Divorce Mediation is less expensive than trial, and research reports a higher degree of satisfaction for both parties.
Neutral Case Evaluation
Neutral case evaluation occurs within mediation or as a separate process entirely. It involves each parties divorce attorney present their side of the case to a trained and neutral third party. The neutral third party weighs the pros and cons of each side and sometimes suggests alternatives to consider. The advantage of Neutral Case Evaluation is in allowing each side to hear the other side’s case, for the purpose of better evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their own case.
Arbitrators are specially trained and qualified. Divorcing spouses present some or all of their disputes and disagreements to the Arbitrator who makes a decision. The Arbitrator’s decision can be made into a court judgment. Usually the Arbitrator’s decision in final and settles the matter, but there are variations in this process.
Before rushing to a divorce trial, consult with your divorce lawyer about Alternative Dispute Resolutions that might be of value in your case. They can spare everyone a great of expense and hurt.