Areas Of Focus

Family Law Med-Arb: Mediation And Arbitration Combined

Mediation-Arbitration (Med-Arb) is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that combines mediation and arbitration to resolve disputes outside of court.

In family law mediation, a neutral third party helps both sides communicate and work together toward resolution of their disputes.

In arbitration, a neutral third party listens to each side present its case and then makes a decision. It is similar to the court process, but usually faster, more efficient and private.

The major drawback of mediation is that there may not be a final solution at the end of the process, if both sides cannot agree. The drawbacks of arbitration are that it can be adversarial and that it puts control of the final decision in the hands of a stranger instead of the separating partners.

Mediation-arbitration (called med-arb) attempts to address these concerns by combining the two processes.

The Best Of Both Worlds

At West Coast ADR Law Group, our lawyers include trained and experienced mediators and arbitrators who can provide med-arb for our clients. Med-Arb combines the best of both ADR options, mediation and arbitration. The process is as follows:

  • A mediator-arbitrator suitable to both sides is hired.
  • The parties try to mediate their dispute. The mediator-arbitrator, acting in his or her mediator role, helps them to communicate and come up with solutions that are uniquely suited to their particular situation.
  • If there are any unresolved issues, the parties move to arbitration.
  • The arbitrator, who is already familiar with the issues and with solutions that have been suggested and rejected during mediation, makes a binding decision.

There are a number of different formats for med-arb. For example, in most cases, the Mediator and Arbitrator is the same person, as many couples prefer to stay with someone they have come to know and trust during the mediation. However sometimes the parties may appoint two different ADR professionals, one to be the Mediator and one to be the Arbitrator.

For additional information regarding the Med-Arb process, please see the Med-Arb Frequently Asked Questions.

For a comparison of average costs of mediation versus med-arb, see our costs chart.

Contact West Coast ADR Law Group

We serve clients in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster and surrounding areas of British Columbia. Contact us at 604-531-9494 or fill out our online form to set up an appointment and learn more about mediation, arbitration and med-arb.