The process of Mediation/Arbitration (or Med/Arb) offers a new and innovative option for resolving one’s issues in Divorce and in the breakdown of a Common Law Relationship, that is viable and solution oriented.
Med/Arb is a process where the parties agree to have a Mediation as Step 1. If the parties reach Agreement on all their issues, then a Separation Agreement will be prepared. However, if the parties aren’t able to reach Agreement on all the issues in their Divorce through Mediation, then the process will change to an Arbitration. The Mediator then becomes the Arbitrator.
In Arbitration – the second stage – there will be a solution, as the Arbitrator will make a formal Order at the end of the hearing. This Order is enforceable, just as a Court Order.
An Arbitration hearing is very much like a Court hearing. However Arbitration avoids the delays, adjournments and complicated procedural requirements that Court proceedings often have. The parties select a timetable that works for them, unlike in Court where it’s not in their control.
The pros of using this hybrid process include that, in the Mediation Stage, the parties work to reach agreement on the terms of a Separation Agreement resolving all their issues. The Mediator assists the parties to help find final solutions. However, if the parties can’t reach agreement, then the Mediation transitions to an Arbitration.
This is when the solution comes via Stage 2: the Arbitration process. In this process, the Arbitrator will hear submissions by both parties, and the Arbitrator will make a decision that is binding and has the same effect as a formal Court Order.
In both these processes the parties’ respective lawyers are involved. Using this hybrid process often encourages the parties to work very hard to reach Agreement during the Mediation stage, as they know that if they are unable to reach Agreement, then the Arbitrator will make the decisions for them.
Having had many years of experience (over 35 years) as a Family Law Lawyer and Mediator, and with extensive training in Law, Mediation, Collaborative Divorce, and Arbitration, I utilize Mediation/Arbitration as one of several processes my firm offers for resolving one’s divorce.
Med/Arb combines peaceful resolution, together with the hand of the law when needed, with the result that the parties will obtain a final settlement of all the issues.
A wonderful benefit of using this process is that the parties will have closure at the end of it, and can now move on to the rest of their lives.