How Does Arbitration Work in a Divorce?

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Divorces are difficult, emotional times. However, despite the huge amounts of stress and anxiety that go into every divorce, it is often possible to sort everything out without having to go through a lengthy and expensive trial. For many people, especially those who would struggle to pay for the expense of a trial in a courtroom, this is not only an ideal solution, but may even be the only one.


Luckily, there are alternatives to a full-fledged trial to resolve all of the issues in a divorce. Mediation is one of them. Another is arbitration.

What Is Arbitration?


Arbitration is a method of conflict resolution that can be used for family law issues.


If you and your spouse are set on getting a divorce, then each of you will raise a handful of problems that will need to be resolved in order for the divorce to work. These issues will include things like the division of your marital property, child custody, and visitation rights. Some of these issues, you will be able to come up with solutions that you can both agree on. However, others will be more difficult to decide. Some will seem impossible, because you and your spouse have conflicting views that cannot be compromised.


This is where arbitration comes in.


Instead of taking the irreconcilable issue to court, you and your spouse can choose to go to arbitration, instead. By choosing a neutral arbitrator to hear the issue and make a binding decision on it, you can avoid the formality, stress, and expense of a court proceeding, while still getting a neutral third party to make a ruling. This ruling, called an “award,” is typically not appealable, though you and your spouse may agree beforehand to make it appealable to court.

What Are the Benefits of Arbitration?


First, arbitration is much less expensive than a court case. While court filing fees can stack up, arbitration has a more relaxed set of requirements for the admissibility of documents. Arbitration is also much more streamlined, does not need all of the personnel that a courtroom trial needs, and so takes much less time.


Second, arbitration is more convenient than a trial. Trials happen when they are scheduled in the court’s docket, regardless of what comes up for anyone involved. Arbitrations, on the other hand, can be scheduled at everyone’s convenience.


Third, arbitrations are private affairs. Courtroom trials are open to the public, so anyone who is interested in coming to watch can go right in. On the other hand, arbitrations are done behind closed doors, with an expectation of confidentiality that can only be broken with the agreement of you, your spouse, and the arbitrator.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help With an Arbitration


Arbitrations are a common occurrence in many family law issues, including divorces. Their unique atmosphere, however, can trip up many attorneys who are not familiar with how they work, so you need to make sure that your lawyer has experience dealing with the arbitration process. The Greenville family law lawyers at the Elliott Frazier Law Firm, LLC have represented numerous clients through the arbitration process. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

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