Avoid Costly Court Battles – Resolve Divorce, Custody and Support Cases With Mediation and Arbitration
As state budget cuts in the Court system cause already overburdened Courts to delay trials even longer, parents and divorcing parties need a way to resolve their disputes in a quick and cost effective manner. Mediation and arbitration are two different ways to accomplish those goals.
The Frascona, Joiner, Goodman and Greenstein, P.C. family law department can function as a mediation team or as an arbitrator in divorce, custody, and support cases. With more than 16 years of experience handling family law cases, we are able to settle issues quickly without each party spending years in Court and tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses.
In mediation, a neutral third party (someone who does not represent either party) meets with the parties separately or together during a mediation session. The parties can go to mediation with, or without their lawyers present. Typically, the mediation session takes place in a conference room at the mediator’s office. The mediator may review documents, photographs, and other items submitted by the parties prior to the mediation session. Through discussion with the parties together and separately, the mediator tries to help the parties resolve their issues without further Court intervention. Offers made during mediation are confidential, and cannot be used in Court. Furthermore, the mediator cannot be forced to come to Court and testify about confidential information disclosed at the mediation.
If a settlement is reached through mediation, it must be put in writing and signed by the parties. The settlement documents can then be filed with the Court, and approved by the Court so that the parties can enforce their agreement.
In arbitration, a neutral third party acts as decision maker. The rules of evidence that apply in a Court case do not apply in arbitration, so it is easier for the parties to present their cases without lawyers present if they choose to proceed without lawyers at the arbitration. Typically, the arbitration hearing takes place in a conference room at the arbitrator’s office Generally, the arbitrator will allow each side to present testimony, witnesses, oral statements, and documents. The arbitrator will then make a written decision, and the written decision will be filed with the Court.
The parties have very limited rights to appeal from the decision of an arbitrator, so the decision is usually a final decision. In cases where the arbitrator is deciding parenting time or parental decision issues, either party can ask a District Court Judge to review the arbitrator’s decision. However, if the Judge agrees with the arbitrator’s decision, the party seeking review will be ordered to pay the other side’s legal expenses.
Because mediation and arbitration can be scheduled based on the calendar of the mediator or arbitrator, dates can be obtained more quickly than dates are obtained in the Court system. Resolving cases through mediation and arbitration can help save money, time, and limit the amount of negative feelings that may result from protracted litigation.