When Is Divorce Arbitration the Right Choice?
In the United States, about 2.3 out of every 1,000 adults get divorced each year. The process of going through a divorce can be time-consuming, stressful, and lead to unwanted attention, especially if it goes through the public court system. Working with an arbitrator and a divorce lawyer allows you to handle the matter privately and with less stress and frustration.
What Is Arbitration?
Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process that takes place outside of a courtroom. Your divorce lawyer and your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s lawyer jointly select a private judge to serve as the arbitrator. Each lawyer presents evidence on every issue that must be resolved for the divorce to be finalized. This includes spousal support, child custody and support, division of assets and debts, and even who gets the family dog or cat. The arbitrator listens to each side and makes a decision, and all parties agree to abide by the arbitrator’s choice. Less evidence is required for arbitration, and each side’s presentation is straightforward and succinct. Arbitrators charge by the hour, and their fees are typically lower than that of going to court for a contested divorce.
Where Does Arbitration Take Place?
Arbitration takes place in a private meeting room. The proceedings aren’t open to the public, and no announcement is made about your case. In some cases, arbitrators provide a private link for a teleconference meeting. This allows parties in different states to attend the meeting. If you have to travel for work, this option may be convenient for you.
Who Should Consider Arbitration for a Divorce?
Resolving a divorce through arbitration is ideal for people who want to get through the process as quickly as possible. If you don’t want your personal business brought to light in a public forum, this is another good reason to consider arbitration. Many divorces involve potentially embarrassing issues, such as alcoholism, drug use, infidelity, and other issues that you might not want to make public. Your arbitration agreement could include confidentiality of the proceedings. The terms of the divorce can also be kept confidential in arbitration.
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are in agreement on most of the divorce issues, such as who gets to keep the house and who gets the kids on their birthdays, arbitration could be a more cost-effective option.
You might consider arbitration if you want to avoid the hostility that often results from a divorce trial. Perhaps you don’t want to go through more trauma, or you don’t want your kids to hear and see their parents arguing.
Many people seeking a divorce choose arbitration for its flexibility. Scheduling meetings is easier. Meetings may be scheduled in the evening or on weekends, which is less disruptive for your job and day-to-day life.
How Long Does Arbitration Take?
The arbitration process usually takes less time than a divorce trial. The divorce attorneys don’t have to present as much evidence to an arbitrator as they do to a family court judge. It may take months to schedule an initial court hearing. In contrast, an arbitration process may be completed in that duration of time.
Why Choose Arbitration Over Court?
When you choose arbitration, you, your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and your lawyers choose the arbitrator. In a court trial, your case is randomly assigned to a judge. Arbitration is also a good choice if you have a dispute around a particular issue, such as real estate. You could choose an arbitrator who practiced law in real estate and has specific expertise on the issue. Divorcing couples also get to pick the amount of time the arbitrator can have to make a decision and which issues will be decided by the arbitrator.
Anyone considering a divorce may benefit from a consultation with a divorce lawyer Reach the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania at (215) 886-1266, or complete our contact form to request a consultation today.