The Difference Between Arbitration and Mediation in a Divorce

GUEST POST By Steven Madel

As you already know, it can get ugly fast during a divorce. Or, on occasion, the married couple holds no animosity toward one another and is ready to split amicably.

Depending on your particular situation, you may consider arbitration, mediation, or hiring divorce attorneys for a typical divorce.

No matter what your particular circumstance happens to be, you have to be prepared and choose the correct divorce path based on your personal situation. Most of you will already know if you’re headed for a traditional divorce. What you might not know is if arbitration or mediation are viable options instead.

To help you make this determination, we will now explain arbitration and mediation and their impact on a divorce.

Divorce Arbitration: What Is It?

When two parties are divorcing, arbitration is one of the main ways available to them to settle disputes. Typically, arbitration will play a role in the divorce proceedings when divorce negotiations have reached a stalemate or impasse. The couple wants to resolve their issues, and they want to do it without having to go to court, so arbitration is often the best way to make it happen.

Divorce arbitration is very similar to a divorce trial. But there are major differences as well. The biggest difference is that the couple will not resolve their dispute within a courtroom setting. They will meet in a private setting instead and hash out their differences in front of an arbitrator. The arbitration hearing is scheduled at a time and place that is convenient for both parties.

Divorce Arbitration Benefits

As you can imagine, there are certain benefits to settling disputes in front of an arbitrator instead of a judge. Those benefits include:

  • Instead of being assigned a judge during a typical divorce trial, the married couple has the opportunity to select an arbitrator to help them come to an agreement on their issues.
  • The couple getting divorced can select a specific arbitrator that has experience in areas important to them. Some examples include real estate value, management, taxes, etc.
  • The arbitration hearing takes place at the location of the couple’s choosing. They also get to pick the date and time.

Divorce Mediation: What Is It?

If you are getting a divorce, a simple way to negotiate directly with your spouse is to do so in front of a mediator. The mediator, in this case, does not have the power as a decision-maker as opposed to an arbitrator or a judge. The mediator’s job is to guide the divorcing parties into an agreement that is satisfactory to everyone involved. Obviously, you’ll have to give a little to get a little, but that’s the whole point of mediation to begin with.

The main job of the mediator is to represent the interests of both parties. This has nothing to do with entitlement or otherwise. The mediator will attempt to make the divorce negotiations go as smoothly as possible as you work toward coming to a satisfactory conclusion to the marriage.

Divorce Mediation Benefits

Divorce mediation provides certain benefits otherwise unavailable from a judge or arbitrator. Those benefits include:

  • Mediation provides a venue to communicate openly and honestly with your spouse. This type of setting encourages respect and working together to help preserve and protect the relationship.
  • Mediation can save emotional distress, expenses, and time, as opposed to what often happens during a typical divorce.

As you can see, there are differences between arbitration and mediation. Read this information carefully and determine if either of these scenarios can help you during a divorce.