Ending a marriage can be extremely costly if both parties if they have to go to court to settle disagreements on how to split up the family assets and determine visitation rights with children. This not only can result in expensive legal bills, but since the courts are typically backed up with cases, it can take a long time for the dispute to be settled and the parties can start to rebuild their lives. If you are involved in a messy divorce, there is an alternative you can use rather than going to court. Here is how the Alternative Dispute Resolution process works to help you and your spouse develop an amicable agreement to settle your divorce.
Instead of appearing before a judge in a court of law, an arbitrator will be appointed by a judge to hear your case and work toward an agreed upon settlement between you and your soon-to-be former spouse. The arbitrator is typically a well-known attorney in your area who specializes in family law.
You can have a say in who will serve as your arbitrator in some communities (something you can't do if you have problems with a judge who will hear your case). You need to have valid reason for seeking the dismissal of an arbitrator. A valid excuse is that you have had interactions with the potential arbitrator and you think those interactions will result in an unfair finding on the part of the arbitrator.
The arbitrator will hear the arguments from both sides of the divorce proceedings and render a binding decision that both you and your spouse will have to follow once the divorce is granted.
A judge can also appoint a mediator to try and settle the disputes in a divorce proceeding. The mediator will not have the decision-making authority of an arbitrator. The mediator will sit everyone down in one room and explain what is happening and go over the facts in the case.
After the initial meeting in one room, you and your spouse will be placed into separate rooms (along with your attorneys). The mediator will work to have you and your spouse prepare settlement offers. He will then take your settlement offer to the room your spouse is in and present the terms you wish they would meet so the divorce can be finalized.
If your spouse disagrees with the terms you have presented, the mediator will have your spouse present their own settlement offer. The mediator will bring this offer to you to see if you find the terms agreeable. This back and forth will continue until you and your spouse find common ground that you both find acceptable.
If the mediator cannot find common ground between you and your spouse, the case will head back to the courts for a judge to determine a resolution to your dispute without you really having a say in the final decision. Contact a local lawyer, like Lois Iannone Attorney at Law, for more information.
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