Even the most amicable divorce can take a turn for the worse along the way. The stress and anxiety that naturally permeates the divorce process is very real, and it can lead to decisions that are based more on emotion than they are on one’s best interests. All of this is simply a byproduct of divorce. If you, however, are committed to obtaining a divorce with less acrimony and more good decisions, a resourceful arbitration lawyer in Bellevue, WA can help you with that.
The Important Decisions Inherent to Your Divorce
No two divorces follow the exact same path, but one universal truth of divorce is that the terms you walk away with are likely to reverberate into your future. This is why it’s so important to give each one the attention it deserves – in accordance with your priorities. At divorce, you’ll need to hammer out decisions related to all of the following:
- Your Child Custody Arrangements – If your divorce involves shared children, your first priority naturally lies with your child custody arrangements. While you will almost certainly be dividing your time with your children between the two of you – and thus, won’t be living with your children full-time the way you were before – finding arrangements that serve your children’s best interests and that you can live with is possible and important.
- The Division of Your Marital Property – In the State of WA, all the property that you and your spouse acquired over the course of your marriage will be divided upon divorce in a manner that is considered just and right (which translates to fair under the circumstances). This division can quickly become both complicated and contentious, and classifying property as either marital or separate isn’t as straightforward as it may initially seem.
- Child Support – Child support is a legal financial tool for ensuring that both parents contribute (somewhat relative to their financial ability to do so) to their children’s upbringing. Child support is calculated according to state guidelines, but the court always has discretion in the matter.
- Spousal Maintenance – Spousal maintenance (or alimony) is not always relevant, but when it is, it reflects one spouse’s post-divorce financial need and the other spouse’s financial ability to help bridge the financial gap with alimony payments that are usually temporary.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to resolving your divorce issues via a means other than going to court. These methods, which include arbitration, offer divorcing couples the opportunity to find a way past their differences without handing the decision-making reins over to the court. ADR is generally less expensive, less anxiety provoking, and less acrimonious than litigating your divorce in court.
Arbitration is its own brand of ADR that encompasses all of the following elements:
- You and your spouse must agree to abide by the independent arbitrator’s ruling on the specific issues that you can’t come to terms with between yourselves. There may be one issue, or there may be several.
- You and your divorcing spouse – along with your respective Bellevue, WA arbitration lawyer – will work toward a negotiated settlement.
- Your respective attorneys will present the arguments in support of your goals to the professional arbitrator in an arbitration hearing (or in a series of hearings, depending upon the complexity of your case).
- The arbitrator will attempt to help you find some middle ground – between your opposing perspectives. In other words, the arbitrator will help guide you toward terms that you can both sign off on – rather than handing down pronouncements. When it comes to arbitration, compromise is the guiding force.
- Once the final settlement is determined, the judge will approve it, and your arbitrated settlement will become a legal judgement of the court.
When Is Arbitration a Good Idea?
Arbitration is not for everyone. In fact, many couples simply do not need this level of intervention, and some others require the finality of court. Arbitration is, after all, a lot like going to court and abdicating some of your decision-making power, but the following advantages can tip the balance for some couples:
- Arbitration is a private matter, and if you are concerned about protecting your privacy, it can be a great option. Divorce records are typically public records, and couples with high assets, with recognizable names, and/or with sensitive child-custody issues often prefer to go with arbitration for this very reason.
- The arbitrator is a trained professional whose goal is to help you mutually resolve the issues at hand. A judge’s role is to rule on the matter based on his or her perception of how the law applies.
- Arbitration is typically less formal than court and can help put you at greater ease.
You Need an Experienced Arbitration Lawyer in Bellevue, WA
Arbitration can be a great option for divorcing couples, and an resourceful arbitration lawyer at Aberdeen Family Law have the skill, drive, and experience to help you successfully navigate the arbitration process in pursuit of divorce terms that work for you. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 206-790-6430 today.