Resolving Your Differences through Alternative Means
If you have come to the conclusion that your marriage cannot be saved, you can seek to settle your disputes in court. However, divorce litigation is typically costly, both financially and emotionally. If you have minor children involved, or if you want or need to maintain a positive relationship with your ex-spouse, you may want to consider other alternatives.
In the mediation process, you work with a third party whose task is to help you find a mutually beneficial solution to all your differences. The mediator is neutral and does not represent either party. The mediator typically does not take testimony from witnesses, although both parties to the divorce have an opportunity to tell their story. The mediator does not make decisions about such issues as custody, visitation, support and property distribution, but helps the parties work together to identify and implement an outcome that is in everyone’s best interests. If you resolve all your differences, the mediator may help you put together an agreement that is enforceable in court.
There are many benefits to divorce mediation. First, because you have to work cooperatively to find solutions, mediation can allow you to maintain a positive relationship moving forward. Because you don’t have to get on the court’s docket, and don’t typically have to engage in discovery (gathering and sharing evidence), the mediation process can be completed much faster than litigation. Unlike litigation or even arbitration, you get to participate fully in the decision-making. You can make suggestions regarding how your differences will be resolved, and can always reject an offer from your ex-spouse. In most instances, the mediation process will be less expensive than other forms of dispute resolution.
The Arbitration Process
Arbitration can look similar to mediation, but has significant differences. In arbitration, you work with a third party, but the third party is typically someone with an extensive understanding of divorce and family law. The arbitrator performs a role similar to that of a judge, considering evidence and making rulings regarding how custody and visitation will work, whether there will be spousal support (and how much will be paid), and how marital debts and assets will be divided.
The arbitration process still offers significant advantages over divorce litigation. In most instances, you will be able to complete the arbitration process far more quickly than you will be able to resolve matters in court. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding. If it is non-binding, you have the right to reject the ruling of the arbitrator, and can still seek to resolve your dispute in court.
Contact Taylor & Boguski
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