What is Arbitration?
- Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process used to resolve disputes outside of court.
- The Arbitrator, a neutral third party, listens to the parties, reviews the facts, evidence and case law, and then makes a final decision, which is binding.
- Arbitration decisions are based on a thorough understanding and application of legal principles and issues regarding children are based solely on their best interest.
- An Arbitrator can be asked to rule on several issues, or specific topics such as division of property assets, support, custody, guardianship or access to children.
There are a number of potential benefits to Arbitration when compared to traditional litigation, which include:
- Efficient and flexible process
- Faster — arbitration awards are usually made within 60 – 90 days
- Confidential and private process
- The arbitrator has specialized knowledge in the area of family law
What is the role of the Arbitrator?
- An impartial, neutral third party
- Similar to a judge, the arbitrator will make a reasoned decision based on the facts and evidence presented
- A lawyer with specialized knowledge of family law matters
What is the Arbitration process?
- Each party will meet with the Arbitrator alone to provide some background information and determine if arbitration is suitable.
- There will be a pre-hearing conference, where the parties, or their counsel, will meet with the Arbitrator to define the issues, discuss the procedure and process to be followed during the arbitration, and schedule dates for the Arbitration hearing.
- The hearing will be conducted in a private setting at a date and time to be determined by the Arbitrator, in consultation with the parties.
- Typically, each party is given an opportunity to make an opening statement and then each party will provide background information by affidavit or testifying.
- Each party and their witnesses are usually subject to cross-examination by the other party or their lawyer.
- Each party will end the process with a closing statement, summarizing the evidence, law and how the party thinks the Arbitrator should resolve the dispute.
- After the Arbitrator has had time to consider all of the evidence, she will make a decision that is binding and enforceable.
- The decision is usually issued in writing and will include the Arbitrator’s reasons for the decision she made.
- That decision then forms an Arbitrator’s Award, which can be filed in court for enforcement.
Is Arbitration right for my family law dispute?
- Increasingly, family law conflicts are being resolved outside of the courtroom.
- Traditional litigation is often a lengthy process, incredibly expensive and is publicly documented.
- Arbitration offers a faster, more affordable and private solution.
- As a result, more and more people are choosing arbitration.
To discuss whether Arbitration is right for you and your family and to find out more about how West Coast ADR Law Group can help achieve a balanced solution for your dispute, please contact a member of our team.