Arbitration differs from litigation in fundamental ways. However, like divorce court, it’s adversarial. You present your side of a disputed issue, your spouse presents their side, and the arbitrator decides who wins. For instance, if you are battling for child custody, the arbitrator’s task is to decide who gets the kid. 

Is arbitration an option you should consider?

The answer depends on your goals and the circumstances of your case. You should consider arbitration if it helps achieve your aims. But giving up the right to have your case heard in court could be a disadvantage. It depends on the specifics of your case. 

Before considering arbitration, seek counsel from a divorce lawyer. Aberdeen Law’s divorce specialists can evaluate your legal position and advise on whether arbitration is worth consideration.

Arbitration Is Not Mediation

Though they are both alternative dispute resolution options, arbitration, and mediation are very different animals. Mediation seeks to forge an agreement through compromise. No one wins or loses. A sign of a successful mediation is that no one ends up completely happy. Instead, the mediator strikes a balance that both sides can accept.

Mediation is also non-binding. If it fails to bring about an agreement, then the parties continue their dispute in court.

Arbitration results in a final winner and a loser for each point of contention. 

For example, in mediation, child support payments are negotiated and agreed to by the parties. In arbitration, arbitrators hear both sides’ arguments and then decide the amount based on their interpretation of the law and factual findings. 

Arbitration Is Voluntary

Like mediation, arbitration is voluntary. Both sides must agree to the process. Usually, one side will propose arbitration as a faster, less expensive method of resolving the divorce case.

The decision to propose or accept arbitration requires careful legal considerations. The Aberdeen Law Firm family law attorneys provide advice on arbitration based on their analysis of the advantages and disadvantages according to their client’s needs, goals, and circumstances.

For example, arbitration may be an attractive option when a client’s main concerns are reducing the legal process cost, maintaining a standard visitation schedule, and keeping child support payments within a range we would expect from arbitration.

Arbitration Is Binding

The arbitrator’s decisions stand, even if you believe them wrong. In court, you can appeal a judge’s ruling based on a perceived error in law. However, arbitration litigants can ask a court to overrule an arbitrator only for the narrow reasons of partiality, fraud, or mistake.

The binding nature of arbitration makes it unappealing in some cases. For example, litigants in a hotly contested custody dispute may wish to keep their options open for an appeal if they receive an adverse result.

On the other hand, the binding nature has advantages because it ends the case without a protracted trial and appeals. Because it is binding, participants are free from the stress and expense of a possible overturned verdict and subsequent continued litigation.

Arbitration Limits Discovery

In a divorce case, the parties engage in the discovery process. At this stage, they have the right to review the other side’s evidence, compel the production of documents and other evidence, and depose witnesses.

Arbitration eliminates the discovery process. For example, no depositions are conducted, which can be disadvantageous for some litigants. Instead, the arbitrator reviews evidence through an informal process. 

Whether your case needs the formal discovery process and depositions are vital considerations when deciding whether arbitration suits you.

Arbitration Is Faster

Court cases wend through the system slowly. Courts have busy dockets and must adhere to strict rules of evidence. Judges must be careful how they rule on the admission of evidence and the law or be overturned. As a result, courts must pay close attention to technical details, requiring additional time.

Arbitrators can dispense with formal procedures and address the heart of the matter more quickly. Rather than waiting for court date after court date, litigants can focus on presenting what is most important at arbitration and receive a decision quickly.

The increased speed helps divorcing couples and children regain stability in their lives much sooner.

Arbitration Reduces Legal Costs

One of the most frequent complaints about divorce courts is the high cost. Couples already face the increased expenses of living apart, so why make the situation harder with expensive litigation?

Also, when children are involved, parents prefer to preserve resources for their needs rather than spend precious dollars on a court fight. Couples with similar views on key issues may settle out of court and avoid the expense of protracted litigation.

However, what if the couple cannot agree on critical issues, such as child custody, property division, and alimony or child support?

Arbitration offers a method of resolving these disputes while controlling expenses, so the family’s assets can be better conserved.

Many divorcing couples benefit from the increased speed, lower cost, and less formal structure of arbitration. But some litigants fare better in the formal court process, where complete discovery applies, and the option to appeal remains open.

The right choice for you comes down to your goals and circumstances. Aberdeen Law advises clients on how the arbitration will impact their case, so they can make an informed decision on whether it is a viable option.  

You Need an Experienced Arbitration Lawyer in Dallas, TX, on Your Side

Arbitration can be a great option for divorcing couples, and a resourceful Dallas, TX, arbitration lawyer at Aberdeen Family Law has 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 (972) 914-3986.

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