Alternative dispute resolution and its role in family law

Family law matters tend to be personal, emotional and sensitive. When feelings get involved with legal matters, it can be challenging to come to agreements. When dealing with family law-related conflict it can be financially and emotionally draining. Using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) tactics like negotiation, mediation and arbitration can help you resolve problems before they escalate.

There are a variety of methods employed in ADR efforts. ADR can be informal or formal and can be accomplished among the disputing partners alone or with professional guidance. Because conflict can arise at any time, resolving conflict is not only a proactive way to avoid litigation, but it can help during and after the litigation process as well.

3 creative solutions offered by ADR

  • Negotiation: When two disputing parties agree to meet and discuss their situation in an attempt to peacefully negotiate an solution. This is often done with each party’s legal representative present. 
  • Mediation: This unique method is similar to negotiation in that it seeks to find a win-win solution for both parties. Mediation differs from negotiation by being facilitated by a neutral and impartial third-party mediator. The mediator fairly assists both parties in discussing their issues to resolve them. 
  • Arbitration: This creative solution, like mediation, uses a neutral third-party arbitrator to hear both sides of the case. Arbitration differs from mediation by giving the arbitrator the power to come to a decision. This is much like a trial without having to go to court. Another advantage of arbitration compared to litigation is that the parties can accept or reject the arbitrator’s judgment. 

Many different ADR strategies can be used to help parties resolve conflict peacefully. However, the three methods above can be a good place to begin.

During family law matters, ADR can be a powerful tool that is useful before, during and after possible legal action. Having family law professionals on your side in the ADR process can help to ensure that your rights are protected.