Mediation and arbitration allow divorcing spouses to settle their disputes privately. In mediation, a neutral third party will help you and your ex-spouse communicate so that you may find a resolution together. However, any settlements made during mediation are not legally enforceable. It is contingent on the spouses’ ability to reach common ground.
A more formal alternative would be arbitration. Albeit less formal than a court case, it is similar in that both spouses will present their arguments with supporting evidence. The arbitrator then decides on the terms for the spouses. Arbitration is more beneficial when the parties are not on good terms and have more assets to fight over. It can be quicker than meditation. Each party can have a lawyer represent them throughout the arbitration process.
The different types of arbitration
In California, there are two distinct types of arbitration: binding arbitration and nonbinding arbitration. When the spouses decide to undergo binding arbitration, there will be no more chance to bring the divorce proceedings to court. The arbitrator’s decision is final, and they waive their rights to make an appeal. In nonbinding arbitration, either party can request a trial if they are not happy with the decision made by the arbitrator.
Which type of arbitration should you choose?
If you want more control over the outcome of your trial, you can opt for nonbinding arbitration. Although, remember that you would be giving your spouse the same amount of control.
Before deciding which alternative dispute resolution you want for your divorce, think about what you want to get out of the divorce settlement. Consider also what is important to your spouse, and if there are certain disputes you can collaborate on, work on those first and get them in writing. Leave the arbitration process for arguments you cannot win but have enough proof to rule the judgment in your favor.