How Are Divorce Mediation and Arbitration Different?

Mediation and arbitration are alternative dispute resolution methods that can help you and your spouse handle your divorce outside of court. Avoiding litigation offers a wide range of benefits and if you are able and willing to communicate to address all issues related to your divorce, you may consider either mediation or arbitration.

Both mediation and arbitration can include:

If you do not have extensive marital property or are likely to find a mutually beneficial agreement with the help of your respective lawyers and mediator or arbitrator, either of those legal options is worth considering.

How Does Mediation Work in New York?

Mediation requires that both spouses willingly enter the process. You should each have your own attorney to assist you throughout the process. You usually meet your lawyer during one-on-one appointments and during the scheduled mediation meetings that involve you, your spouses, your lawyers, and your mediator. Working with a trusted lawyer is important including when it comes to reviewing the agreement draft you and your spouse eventually create.

Your mediator is a neutral third party, generally, a lawyer, who has received specialized training. Their goal is to help you and your spouse reach agreements on all elements of your divorce that protect your rights and assets. The central component of mediation is constructive and open communication.

Each mediation session may last one or more hours depending on your preferences and the specific topics you are currently discussing.

Mediation may also involve other professionals such as financial or valuation experts, appraisers, or parenting psychologists

Why Should I Choose Arbitration Rather Than Mediation?

Where mediation helps you speak with your spouse with the help of a neutral third party, arbitration is more similar to a divorce trial. Although it takes place outside of court, the major difference between both alternative dispute resolution options is that your arbitrator will issue a ruling.

During the arbitration process, both spouses make their case to the arbitrator while receiving counsel from their lawyers. The process can be more formal than mediation and remains a judicial one. Contrary to litigation, you and your spouse have the right to select your arbitrator, including if you want one that specializes in a specific matter such as high asset divorces.

When both parties willingly enter the arbitration process, they agree to do so via contract and grant powers to the arbitrator to make decisions regarding their divorce. You may also specify what matters you want the arbitrator to have authority over.

What Are the Benefits of Mediation and Arbitration?

  • Cost-effectiveness. They involve fewer expenses than litigation.
  • Time-effectiveness. The process usually goes quicker than going to court, especially if both parties easily find common ground on several matters.
  • Flexibility. You and your spouse can schedule the meetings at your convenience contrary to court dates that a judge sets.
  • Privacy. You can keep your negotiations away from the public eye, which can be positive for your children and also for you, especially if either you or your spouse are high profile.
  • Peace of mind. Thanks to the mediator’s or arbitrator’s skills, constructive discussions can help you reach your goals more effectively and with less conflict than if you had gone to court.
  • Control over the post-divorce structure. Since you and your spouse negotiate directly to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, you may have more say in how alimony, child custody, and support may play out after your divorce is final.
  • Healthy co-parenting foundation. When both parties can communicate with respect, this can set a strong starting point for your post-divorce co-parenting. In turn, this can minimize the stress of the divorce for your children and help maintain cordial family relationships.

In Which Cases Should People Choose Litigation Right Away?

Certain situations are not conducive to alternative dispute resolution approaches like mediation or arbitration. If there is a history of domestic violence, those solutions would be stressful and detrimental to the spouse who suffered abuse. Indeed, having to sit through multiple meetings with their abuser and risking intimidation would likely result in a less than ideal agreement.

If your divorce is high conflict for any reason, including a significant financial imbalance, unreasonable demands from one spouse, or constant disputes, litigation would also be preferable to help you achieve a ruling that protects your rights and assets.

No matter which type of divorce you are considering, speaking with an experienced lawyer as soon as you decide to terminate your marriage, is the way to go. This way, your attorney can carefully assess your situation and recommend what course of action may benefit you.

If you are considering getting a divorce in Brooklyn or its surrounding areas, call Arnel Law Firm today at (718) 550-3024 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation.