Mediation and arbitration are forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) often used in family law. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps the parties reach agreement, but does not have authority to make a binding decision. Once an agreement is reached the parties may enter into an Agreement or Order to “seal the deal”.
If the dispute is not settled in mediation, the parties move on to the next step, which may be arbitration or Court. If the parties choose arbitration, the arbitrator has authority under the Arbitration Act to make a binding decision similar to a Court Order granted by a Justice.
DM+H has well trained and experienced mediators and arbitrators with varied styles. Mediation allows for creative, tailored solutions to meet your family’s needs, helping to avoid the situation where a stranger is deciding your children’s future. Some DM+H lawyers also have experience conducting arbitrations, as well as Med-Arbs, when the lawyer starts the process as a mediator, and if the parties are unable to come to terms the lawyer takes off his/her “mediation hat”, puts on his/her “arbitration hat”, and then makes a binding decision.
Yes. A binding decision made by an arbitrator is also known as an “Arbitration Award”. It is a very simple step to have an Arbitration Award made enforceable by way of Court Order.
Mediation is private, typically less costly than court, and intended to resolve issues more quickly. You have the opportunity to choose your mediator and set your own schedule, and the mediator you choose may help you to identify potential solutions that you had not initially considered.
No. While some people prefer to use the same individual as both mediator and arbitrator, this is not a requirement unless agreed upon by the parties.