While litigating a family law issue is sometimes the only option, there are alternatives for individuals who wish to keep their personal matters out of court. Staying out of court also saves time, money, and stress. For individuals navigating a divorce and hoping for more control over the outcome, choosing an alternative method to litigation, such as mediation, is often their best bet. Today, we go over three alternatives to going to court.
Arbitration: One Alternative Over Going to Court
Arbitration is a process where an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators discuss various options and come to a decision about the issues at hand. The process tends to resolve disputes more quickly than litigation. This process is not formal like going to trial and records are kept private. The decision that is made at the end of the process can also be appealed.
Neutral Evaluation: The Second Court Alternative
A neutral evaluation is a process where two individuals obtain a non-binding, independent evaluation of their case from a neutral third party that is jointly selected by both parties. The third party could be an expert in a certain field, such as a divorce lawyer or retired judge. The evaluation could consist of a panel of two or three experts as well.
The opinion, advice, and assessment of a neutral legal professional is often enough to convince one party to adopt their settlement.
Mediation: The Third Alternative to Going to Court
Mediation is probably the most popular type of alternative dispute resolution methods. It is less formal than arbitration and involves a third party or mediator. The mediator helps two parties facilitate a conversation and guides them to an agreement. During mediation sessions, a mediator might propose possible solutions, but the two parties do not need to accept these suggestions. Mediation is successful when both sides are open to the process and willing to work together to negotiate and come to an agreement.
Why Should You Resolve a Family Law Issue Outside of Court?
Here are some of the benefits to resolving your family law matter outside the courtroom:
- Saves time
- Less stressful
- Less expensive
- You have more control over the case and its outcome
- Encourages communication, negotiation, and collaboration between parties
- Keeps your case private