Mediation and Arbitration Attorneys Discuss The Benefits of these Approaches in NJ
Providing Couples with Professional Legal Advice Across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas
Many divorcing couples are looking towards alternate dispute resolution tactics as a means to settle their cases and move on with their lives. Court backlogs and the high cost of contentious divorces have been driving forces in moving couples from traditional divorce tracks to either arbitration or mediation. Often these two processes are mistaken for each other, but the two are indeed very different. Mediation and arbitration do share some commonalities. Both are confidential, cost-effective, and expeditious alternatives to mainstream divorce litigation.
What Happens in a Mediation?
It is a process in which an impartial third party facilitates negotiations between the litigants. The goal of mediation is to help them reach a mutually acceptable settlement. The mediator does not make the decision that determines the outcome of the case. Rather, the parties – with the assistance of their attorneys – work with a mediator toward a solution with which they are comfortable.
Mediation is often used to amicably resolve disputes between parties that have an ongoing business or personal relationship or have had a significant past relationship, where communication problems exist between the parties, but where the principal barriers to settlement are personal or emotional. It allows for a more collaborative, creative road to problem resolution. Divorce proceedings lend themselves to mediation especially when the discrepancies are few and far between former spouses.
What are the Advantages of Mediation?
In mediation, there is less stress as compared to litigation or arbitration as the process typically resolves the dispute quickly. Also, the parties have more control over the settlement and the relationship between them has not reached an irreparably damaged state. Mediation proceedings are also completely confidential.
It is a process by which a neutral third-party or panel considers the evidence presented by the parties and makes a decision that may be binding or non-binding, according to the statute, rule, or the prior agreement of the parties.
What Is Arbitration?
In arbitration, the process requires that each spouse voluntarily submit their divorce matter to a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, who ultimately renders a final ruling on the settlement. The arbitrator is mutually selected by the litigants and maybe a matrimonial attorney or a former judge. Key in the selection of an arbitrator is that they are experienced and familiar with the nuances of matrimonial law. There are some instances where the court will appoint an arbitrator when the spouses cannot agree. The role of the arbitrator is to act much like a judge would during a trial. The proceedings are usually much less formal than a trial, but the arbitrator does render a decision much in the same fashion as a judge. The cost of arbitration is usually divided between the parties.
What are the Advantages of Arbitration?
Arbitration proceedings are flexible and more economically feasible compared to litigation.
Arbitration proceedings occur at an expeditious rate as compared to Litigation; therefore, it saves time for both parties.
The disputes which are subject to arbitration are not released to the public.
The parties have the liberty to choose an arbitrator to handle their dispute.
Arbitration awards are generally easier to enforce as compared to court verdicts.
Arbitration Can Be Tailored to the Parties’ Needs
Unlike trying a case in court, the Rules of Evidence in binding arbitration may be relaxed by agreement of the parties and their attorneys. A set of rules to follow in the arbitration process can also be agreed upon. Not only can the parties decide whether or not to keep a “record” of the arbitration, but the parties can also agree on what issues are to be submitted or not submitted to binding arbitration. On many occasions, the parties may wish to only have several issues involved in their divorce arbitrated, with the remaining issues to either be negotiated, mediated, or decided by the court. Again, this gives the parties a sense that they are involved in the process and have some control over and confidence in the way their case is being handled.
The Conclusion of Arbitration
At the conclusion of the binding arbitration process, the arbitrator submits a decision. Although the parties can agree on the scope of the appeal of the decision, typically the parties entering binding arbitration want finality and agree that the arbitrator’s decision will not be appealable except under limited circumstances, such as gross error committed by the arbitrator. The people who take their case out of the court system and submit their disputed issues to arbitration are typically not interested in more litigation or appeals. They want their divorce case to be over and want finality. Our court rules also set forth the way the arbitrator’s decision can be converted to a judgment or order, which can then be enforced.
Is Arbitration or Mediation Right for You?
The arbitration process is not perfect. As stated above, there is an additional cost involved in submitting your case to binding arbitration. Given the typically limited right to appeal, if the arbitrator makes what you believe is a bad decision, although no gross error was committed, there may be no recourse to alter the decision. However, often, someone who is simply unhappy with an arbitrator’s decision would have been equally as unhappy with a Court ruling which would likely survive an appeal.
Contact our Mediation and Arbitration Lawyers for a Free Consultation at our Brick Office
If you are interested in settling your divorce dispute without having the stress of a court date far into the future due to full-court calendars, arbitration or mediation could be the answer you are looking for.
At Bronzino Law Firm, we take pride in successfully representing clients in Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake. Whether you have made the decision to go to court or have contemplated an alternative avenue, we are here to create a plan that is best for you and your changing family.
Contact us online or call us at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options and to schedule a free online confidential consultation with a member of our firm regarding your needs during this time.