Family Law
Mediator and Arbitrator

Arbitration is a process that removes the decision making option from the participants. The parties may or may not have attorneys present. Arbitration can be either a hearing in the office, or submitted in writing.

The Arbitration process is similar to a court hearing, although, it is usually less formal. Once the parties have agreed to arbitrate issues, a schedule is set for each party to submit materials to each other and to the Arbitrator, and then to submit responsive materials to each other and to the Arbitrator. If the Arbitration process is conducted in- person, all the participants are in the same room during any hearing. A record may be made by audio tape or a court reporter. A formal record of the proceeding is not required. The Arbitration may also be conducted without a meeting and based on each party’s written submissions.

Some parties decide to utilize the Arbitration process as a conclusion to Mediation when all the issues have not been resolved by agreement. Specifically, the Mediation process is fully carried out and the parties then agree to give the Mediator authority to arbitrate the remaining unresolved issues and to issue a binding decision. The Arbitrator will prepare a written Decision which is usually filed in the Court file. If a party chooses to seek review of the Arbitration Decision, the options for appeal are limited.

Arbitration may be used as an alternative to a Court hearing. The process is less formal, and the parties are not bound by the Court Rules which limit the size of the written materials. Although the Rules of Evidence do apply. An Arbitrator is able to give more time to considering the materials and each party’s arguments than available in a court setting. Furthermore, the process is flexible. Parties and attorneys can schedule submission dates, hearing dates, and time periods. Generally, the process is less expensive than a hearing or trial.