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Divorce Arbitration is used when parties want speed and privacy. It also allows significant control in many areas including selection of the "judge" as the arbitrator acts as the judge.
Divorce arbitration is among several vehicles referred to as "alternative dispute resolution". Other such methods of resolving matrimonial disputes include divorce, mediation and collaborative divorce. At Greenberg & Krieger LLP in Stamford Connecticut, we advise our clients of all of these alternatives and work to find the best fit.
However, arbitration is distinctly different in that it usually resolves a contentious divorce whereas the other forms of alternative dispute resolution presume that the parties, with some assistant and education, can work out their differences and reach a resolution without a trial.
Arbitration is an alternative to a court trial. It is a much more formal procedure than mediation or collaborative divorce. With Arbitration, evidence is presented by lawyers through witnesses and exhibits are introduced. The Arbitrator rules on points of law and admissibility of evidence in a way that is very similar to a court trial. Arbitration cannot be used to resolve issues related to child support, visitation and custody.
Family Law arbitration is an underutilized vehicle for resolving family cases. The use of Arbitration avoids the overburdened court system. In court, lawyers must often wait around for hours, adding to tension and cost. It also affords the parties privacy as opposed to a court trial where the public can observe at any time. Certain delicate issues can be dealt with in a discrete manner. It allows for sufficient time to put on a complex case without the pressure the court frequently brings to bear because of the numerous pending matters which need to be disposed of by the Judge. Scheduling is easier and much more efficient thereby avoiding wasted time and money. Some arbitrators may be willing to work nights or weekends. For busy working families, the convenience of controlling scheduling can be incalculable.
One very important advantage to arbitration over a court trial is that counsel and their respective clients can agree on an arbitrator. This avoids being assigned a Judge who may not be the best choice for your particular case. Arbitration assures the parties that a well respected seasoned jurist will preside over the matter. Since using the courts involves so much delay and wasted waiting time, the use of arbitration is often less expensive than a court trial.