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Arbitration and Mediation


If the divorcing couple cannot agree on all issues in a divorce, even with the efforts of both parties and their attorneys to find amicable agreement and resolution, the unresolved issues can be determined by an arbitrator. Those who opt for arbitrating matrimonial cases, choose to hire a private arbitrator to collect the evidence and make a decision on an efficient basis. The divorcing couple and their attorneys will define the scope of the arbitration and instruct the arbitrator on what needs to be decided. An arbitration agreement will be drafted and signed by both parties.

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Mediation is a wonderful alternate dispute resolution (ADR) tool and process used by family law attorneys, psychologists, financial planners and others to help resolve some or all issues between a husband and wife, father and mother, same-sex partners and others. Most family law litigation can benefit at some point by using mediation to solve very specific issues: Divorce issues, parenting plan issues, division of assets, custody, etc. Personal property division is one of those prime areas which need resolution but may not need hours of attorney time and utilizes economic resources more effectively resulting in cost savings to the family.

The process of mediation is very simple and is in keeping with the amicable approach to issue resolution mediation provides husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, even grandparents or same-sex couples, the opportunity to have a conversation in a safe setting with a trained professional (attorney, psychologist, financial planner, CPA). While the mediator will not make decisions for any person, or offer legal advice, a good mediator will facilitate the conversation, allowing husband and wife (or partners) to express their views and desires and will provide feed-back on what they hear, often offering alternate ways of viewing the issue from the context of the partners. Resolution is of course, up to the participants, but with commitment on the part of the Husband and Wife, grandparents, same-sex partners or other parties, to keep at the conversation process, many successfully resolve the issues. Participants in the amicable divorce resolution process will have already consulted with their attorneys, psychologists, financial planners and CPA to fully understand the legal, financial and emotional issues at stake.

In the area of personal property division, for example, partners often have strong emotional attachment to certain items, or a dispute about which items may be marital property or non-marital property (inherited furniture for example). Allowing partners in a divorce, custody or support context, to sit down and discuss division of personal property (division of assets), promotes the amicable resolution of issues and begins to foster an improved emotional climate.