What is Med-Arb (Mediation-Arbitration)?
- Med-Arb is an alternative dispute resolution process that combines mediation and arbitration to resolve disputes outside of court.
- The Med-Arbitrator, a neutral third party, works with the parties to try to reach a consensual resolution to their dispute. If that is not possible, the Med-Arbitrator makes a final award, which is binding.
There are a number of potential benefits to Med-Arb when compared to traditional mediation, arbitration or litigation, which include:
- Efficient and flexible process
- Confidential and private process
- The Med-Arbitrator has specialized knowledge in the area of family law
- Personal involvement in the process and outcome
- Provides closure to unresolved disputes
- Allows the parties to move forward
In Med-Arb, the parties realize the combined benefits from the two alternative dispute resolution processes: mediation and arbitration.
What is the role of the Med-Arbitrator?
- An impartial, neutral third party
- In most cases, the Mediator and Arbitrator is the same person. However, in some circumstances, the parties may appoint two different ADR professionals, one to be the Mediator and one to be the Arbitrator
- During the mediation process, the Med-Arbitrator will facilitate communication to try and find a resolution to the dispute
- The Med-Arbitrator will not take sides, but will guide the parties through the communication process so they can find their own mutual and balanced solution to their issues
- If there are unresolved issues, the Med-Arbitrator will make a final decision during the arbitration process.
What is the Med-Arb process?
- At the beginning of the Med-Arb process, the parties sign a Med-Arb agreement, which sets out the process to be followed and confirms that if there are any unresolved issues following mediation, they will be resolved by arbitration.
- In most cases, the Mediator and Arbitrator is the same person. However, in some circumstances, the parties may appoint two different ADR professionals, one to be the Mediator and one to be the Arbitrator.
- Once the agreement is signed, each party will meet with the Med-Arbitrator alone to provide some background information and determine if med-arb is suitable.
- The matter will then proceed to mediation and try to resolve all of their issues. See questions and answers above regarding the mediation process.
- If the parties are successful in resolving some issues, they will be documented in a written (separation) agreement.
- If the parties have not resolved all of their issues through the mediation process, the outstanding issues may be resolved by Arbitration. See questions and answers above regarding the arbitration process.
- The Med-Arbitrator will make a decision that is binding.
To find out how West Coast ADR Law Group can assist you in achieving a balanced solution to your dispute and to discuss whether Med-Arb is right for you, please contact us.