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What’s the difference between mediation and arbitration?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2020 | Divorce, Family Law |

Not all divorces in New Jersey have to go to court. In fact, if mediation doesn’t work out, there’s another step you can take before your divorce becomes a court battle. Divorce arbitration can help you settle your divorce without spending months in court and paying thousands of dollars in legal fees. This step is significantly different from mediation, making it ideal for couples who have trouble negotiating.

What’s the difference between mediation and arbitration?

According to family law professionals, mediation involves hiring a third party to help you and your former spouse negotiate an agreement. The mediator isn’t necessarily going to push you toward one agreement or another. Instead, the mediator helps you work together and maintain civility throughout the discussions.

Arbitration is different. Instead of getting both sides to work together, the arbitrator hears each party’s side separately. Each party might provide facts and evidence to sway the arbitrator’s decision. After getting both sides of the story, the arbitrator comes to a decision. If the arbitration is legally binding, both parties must stick to the decision unless they manage to get it overturned. However, if the arbitration is not legally binding, both parties can choose to ignore the decision.

If you choose the arbitration route, you can save time and money by allowing a third party to make major decisions for you. This can also take some responsibility off your shoulders. However, if you choose legally binding arbitration, you’ll have to live with the arbitrator’s decision. You may hire a divorce attorney to help you fight the decision, but you’ll have to prove that corruption was somehow involved in the process.

May an attorney act as an arbitrator?

You can hire an attorney to act as an arbitrator during your divorce. The attorney may hear both sides of the argument separately and then make a decision that’s legally binding. Since you won’t have to set a court date, you may get your divorce finalized much more quickly. You also won’t have to face a judge and a courtroom; instead, you can discuss the issue privately with an attorney.

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