Alternative Dispute Methods for Divorce
The thought of going through a divorce with your ex is bad enough, but factor in trying to decide who gets the house, will you split the kids 50-50 or gets the dog can really stress you out. Divorces are no fun no matter how you look at it. But the good news is that not all divorces are as intense as TV and other entertainments make them seem. Many legal disputes don’t make it to trial and are usually resolved by a settlement outside of the courtroom. It’s good to know that all divorces are different. So, what your few friends went through with their divorce process doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll go through the same with yours. There are alternate dispute resolutions in Arizona methods that your lawyer will talk to you about. To help give you a better idea of what they are so that you have some understanding of them when your lawyer explains them to you, we’ve provided a quicker guide on alternative dispute resolutions for divorce.

What is alternative dispute resolution?

The term “alternative dispute resolution” refers to the different methods you can use to resolve an argument or dispute. The main objective is getting all parties involved to agree on certain things, putting aside their differences so that the case doesn’t need to be handled in court. It’s an alternative to court and having to present the case in front of a judge. It’s actually quite popular in many divorces since it allows both parties to resolve their differences, usually with money, emotions, and family. It is done without having to spend a lot of money and time preparing for court. There are a few different types of alternative dispute resolutions in Arizona, including mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law. Since it’s not for everyone, many lawyers will have you explore these options before you move on to a courtroom battle with your ex.

What is mediation?

Mediation is when both parties work together with a natural third party to come to an agreement or resolution that the parties develop on their own. The mediator will ask questions, give both parties homework to prepare and help them make the right decisions needed to resolve any problems as they dissolve the marriage. The mediator will also help evaluate any options they propose so that both parties are happy with the outcome. The mediator can’t be connected to either side since they must remain neutral throughout the entire process. They’re also trained professionals that help both parties reach a mutually agreeable outcome in their divorce. This method can be very successful if you’re having an amicable divorce with your ex and could be a less expensive option than hiring a lawyer and going to court. Although not required, you can still hire a lawyer to act achieve greater mediation success. So, the attorney acts as a legal coach to provide advice during the process.

What is arbitration?

Besides mediation, arbitration is another way of resolving disputes which involves a third neutral party. The third person is a trained professional and doesn’t have any special interest or connection with either side of the argument. The person will hear both sides of the case and then make a decision as to the merits of each party’s stance on various issues. Usually, the person hired to lead the arbitration hearing is a lawyer or, at very minimum, familiar with the law and past court rulings. This alternative dispute resolution in Chandler is usually chosen when mediation isn’t an option due to opposition from one party. There can also be an arbitration panel with multiple arbitrators hearing the case, which will decrease the risk of an inappropriate decision being made. So it’s sort of like hiring a jury for increased checks and balances. After each side presents their case (much less formal than a courtroom), the arbitrator(s) will make their final decision on the case. This type of alternative dispute resolution in Arizona is usually more structured than mediation and the arbitrator’s decision in the case is not necessarily final. Both parties might still be able to resolve other issues in court in the future. It’s good to note that many out-of-court settlements will need some level of court approval. Arbitration isn’t a good choice for you if you would rather retain the power to renegotiate or possibly change the divorce agreement.

What is collaborative law?

Collaborative law is where both parties sign an agreement saying that if they aren’t successful in resolving the case, then both attorneys will then withdraw their arguments and then start over again. If needed, a team of experts will work with both parties in specialized areas like children’s needs, finance, valuation of assets and the like to be able to come to an agreement. This is the newest alternative dispute resolution in Chandler for divorcing couples that allows both parties to reach an equitable settlement. Everyone wants to settle out of court and will start all over again with new litigation lawyers if the parties fail to reach an agreement. It can be very effective for divorce since there are various professionals that can help the case and its various aspects. It’s a great choice if both parties are willing to negotiate in good faith and want to reach a mutually agreeable settlement in less time.
Meeting with a divorce lawyer will help better explain the various alternative dispute resolutions in Arizona and guide you as to which option is best for your case. But if your divorce is pretty straightforward, you can most likely do mediation. But if your divorce is complex, then arbitration could be better.
Some states now require couples to try and use some form of alternative dispute resolution before moving forward in family court, so it’s a good idea to understand all of your options. The lawyers at Shaffer Family Law will be available for you through the whole process. Give us a call at (480) 470-3030.
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