the smart law group
Arbitration is very similar to mediation. Arbitration is voluntary. No one can be forced into an arbitration. In arbitration, a neutral arbitrator is agreed upon and the facts are presented to the arbitrator, in much the same way evidence would be presented in a trial. In arbitration, the arbitrator acts as a judge and makes the final decision on all of the issues in the divorce case and that decision is binding on everyone. There is no absolute right to appeal the arbitrator’s decision and there are very few situations where the arbitrator’s decision can be changed or overturned.
Arbitration is typically more efficient because the arbitrator is focused on only your case, unlike trials in court when there is much other activity going on in a courtroom and the court’s schedule has many other cases waiting for their own trial. An added benefit is that arbitration is private. Arbitration can be expensive because the neutral arbitrator is paid by the parties and likely will spend a lot of time on your case, but the arbitrator has the ability to be more focused on your case and your case might be resolved more quickly than waiting for a trial. Sometimes the added expense of arbitration is more cost effective in the long run. Not every case is appropriate for arbitration, but it is an option that will be discussed in appropriate cases.