What is Arbitration?

When two people are in the midst of a divorce, emotions run high due to the uncertain nature of the proceedings.

This is entirely understandable, especially with so much riding on the results for both parties. Add to this the stress of going through a trial in a public courtroom and divorce can be one of life’s most overwhelming and painful events. 

But not every divorce needs to go to trial. For many couples, divorce arbitration simply makes better sense. If you or someone you know are getting divorced, here is everything you need to know about the divorce arbitration process.

A Private Setting for a Private Matter

Unlike a divorce trial, which is held in an often-crowded public courtroom before a judge, arbitration takes place in a private setting before an Arbitrator, an impartial third-party professional chosen by the divorcing couple and their respective attorneys. This is important because it gives the divorcing couple a feeling of security and peace of mind knowing that they have a hand in choosing the person overseeing their divorce and it enables them to select an Arbitrator with specific experience in a certain area of interest important to both parties, such as real estate holdings, taxes, etc. 

But choosing the Arbitrator is not the only way arbitration places much more control over the proceedings in the hands of the divorcing couple. The schedule for the meeting is determined by the availability of all included parties, whereas in divorce court, only the trial judge’s availability is considered. The divorcing couple is also granted the ability to choose the procedure to be followed and the length of time the Arbitrator will have to render their decision.

During the arbitration hearing, the Arbitrator listens to the disputed issues from both parties and their testimonies, reviews the documented evidence, and once concluded, renders a decision, or award. In an arbitration hearing, once the Arbitrator renders their award and it is confirmed by a court of appropriate jurisdiction, it becomes a legally binding judgement and, in most cases, cannot be appealed.

How Does Arbitration Differ From Mediation?

Divorce arbitration differs from mediation in several ways, but most noticeably in the fact that an Arbitrator has the authority to make a decision about the divorce, whereas a Mediator does not. In divorce mediation, an unbiased third-party Mediator listens to the divorcing couple’s arguments and concerns while encouraging an open, respectful, and honest conversation between both parties with the goal of helping them come to a compromise and agree to the terms of their divorce. 

The decisions made by the divorcing couple during the mediation process are not legally binding. They serve as a set of compromises that can then be included into the terms of their divorce. In divorce mediation, the meeting is attended by the divorcing couple and the Mediator. The couple can request to have their respective attorneys attend but their attendance is not required.

Many divorcing couples choose to go through divorce mediation before they take the next step to either divorce trial or arbitration, so they can work out their issues in a private setting and come to agreed terms prior to finalizing their divorce.

Mediation Helps Remove the Stress from Divorce

Making the decision to divorce your spouse is always a difficult one. It is not only painful and emotionally taxing, but it can also be overwhelmingly expensive. Mediation is an effective tool that can help you and your spouse retain a sense of dignity and control during this uncertain time. It can help you come to terms and make key decisions about important issues like custody of children, visitation, and finances before going to trial or arbitration. Mediation helps you save time, money, and energy during a time when you need these valuable resources the most.

Getting the best results from mediation begins with choosing an experienced and compassionate Mediator. Mediation Professionals of Long Island have extensive experience assisting couples with issues related to marriage and domestic partnership, including dissolution, child custody, support, property division matters, premarital agreements, and more. Get the help you need today by speaking with one of their divorce mediation specialists. Call 646-992-7440 now or click here to send them a message.

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