As said in the website of the law firm Kirker Davis, LLP, “In pending divorce cases, an alternative option to divorce litigation is divorce arbitration – a process that is more informal than a courtroom divorce, but not lacking any of the legitimacy of a traditional divorce trial. In divorce arbitration, the splitting parties agree on an impartial third party to act as judge and jury in the case. The arbitrator—often a lawyer accredited with specialized training in divorce arbitration or a retired judge—makes all the same decisions a judge in a court trial would, but the process is speedier and less formal than traditional court proceedings.”
Divorce arbitration, is one of three primary types of dispute resolution in a divorce; the other two are mediation and litigation. In settling divorce issues, such as child custody, visitation rights, child support, spousal support or alimony, and division of property, assets and debts, arbitration offers the following advantages:
- It expedites dispute resolution. As soon as the spouses and the hired arbitrator agree on the date, the place, the issues to be settled and all other conditions surrounding the arbitration, then everything can be expected to proceed much faster – faster than a court litigation would take.
- It is convenient. Unlike in court litigation where spouses can only follow the schedule of hearing set by the court, in arbitration the schedule can be set by the spouses themselves.
- It finalizes disputes. All decisions made by an arbitrator on all divorce-related issues are binding, even if both spouses find these disagreeable. These decisions cannot be appealed to a higher court too, making both spouses stuck with all decisions made.
- It is private. Unlike court litigation, which is public, allowing anybody to witness how spouses discredit one another, arbitration is private, allowing people, who need to keep their past activities hidden, keep these activities from getting known publicly.
- It is flexible and informal. Aside from being able to choose the arbitrator they want, both spouses can also set the rules of the proceeding, as well as the issues the arbitrator will decide on. This particular advantage also allows the spouses to present their arguments whenever they want.
Decisions, however may not be what the spouses expect as these are to be handed down on them by the arbitrator. This is why some couples do not appreciate this type of divorce resolution dispute. Though not appreciated at the beginning, an arbitrator’s decisions may just prove effective and the most logical eventually.