According to published information, there were more than 34,000 weddings in Pennsylvania in 2020. While nobody enters a marriage anticipating that it will come to an end at some point, circumstances and situations may change over time, which could then lead to the need to have an attorney explore available options. Below, we take a closer look at two ways to approach end-of-marriage negotiations in the Keystone State: mediation and arbitration.
If the end of a marriage isn’t especially contentious, a divorce lawyer may recommend mediation as a way to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Divorce mediation gives separating spouses a way to handle negotiations with the help of an impartial third party.
How It Works
The mediator acts as a sounding board and does not have the authority to offer legal advice. The role of the mediator is primarily to guide both parties through the settlement process. This often involves identifying the main interests or priorities of each spouse without focusing on “wants” or “entitlements.”
For instance, one spouse may “want” the family car or feel “entitled” to it even though they already have another vehicle to use. The other spouse, on the other hand, may “need” this vehicle for work. With a situation like this, a mediator might point out that if the spouse in need of the car can keep working, they’ll be more likely to be able to pay any child or spousal support that may be part of the settlement.
Sessions with a mediator usually take place in a conference room or similar setting, at least to start with. After this, meetings usually take place individually with each party. Should a point be reached where progress can no longer be made due to lingering disagreements, arbitration or litigation may be recommended.
Benefits associated with mediation for divorcing couples include:
- Saving time and money
- Reducing emotional stress
- Encouraging respect and cooperation
- Keeping the focus on problem solving in a productive way
Arbitration is often recommended when an impasse has been reached by divorcing spouses, as may be the case if the less-formal approach of mediation isn’t working well for involved parties. It’s a process that can be appealing to couples preferring to avoid court while still reaching a settlement arrangement that’s mutually acceptable. It’s also a way to work through key issues in a more structured setting.
How It Works
Arbitration takes place in a private setting, not a courtroom and it can take the place of in-court proceedings. The time and place are determined based on what’s convenient for the divorcing spouses, allowing for more flexibility than what’s typical with courtroom proceedings. An attorney represents each spouse, and an arbitrator both parties can agree on is also selected.
The arbitration goes through the various issues that need to be reviewed and resolved. In some instances, the spouses or their legal representatives can determine the nature of the process and how long the arbitrator has to make a decision. The arbitrator’s decision is referred to as an “award,” which is based on the disputed issues. Typically, this decision cannot be appealed.
Benefits of arbitration for divorcing couples include:
- Being able to select an arbitrator experienced with the main issues involved
- Defining the specific issues involved
- Maintaining and privacy and confidentiality for both spouses
- Avoiding the stress and rigors of a traditional court-related divorce
When you’re dealing with the end of a marriage in Pennsylvania, an experienced divorce lawyer can make a big difference as you sort through your options. Whether you’re having issues with a contested divorce or hoping to resolve matters as amicably as possible, the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner in Jenkintown, PA, is here to help. Contact our office today at (215) 886-1266 to schedule an appointment.