The divorce process is often time-consuming and financially straining, but fortunately, there are options available to those that want to simplify their separation. Mediation and arbitration are two alternatives that allow the couple to work through their separation without leaving important decisions about child custody, property division, and financial matters in the hands of a divorce court judge.
Our firm understands how overwhelming aspects of the divorce process can be for people, and we can help walk you through all of your possible options, so you can choose the path that is best for you. We will take the time to get to really know you and what is important to you so we can help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case.
If you are preparing for a divorce and interested in finding out more about alternative settlement options, contact the Monmouth County mediation and arbitration lawyers at the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. at (732) 898-2378. We can review your options and help you make an informed decision about your separation.
Each couple faces unique challenges during their divorce, which is why it is essential to remain informed on all your divorce options. For many people, mediation or arbitration may be the most helpful way to work towards a settlement. At the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. we can help you with the following types of resolutions:
- Mediation – Mediation is designed to help couples who are still able to work with one another find common resolutions to their marital issues. In mediation, the spouses meet with a neutral third-party mediator who acts only to try and help the couple arrive at agreements. The mediator does not render decisions, as they only seek to help facilitate agreements.
- Arbitration– Arbitration is much like a trial, but it does not occur in a courtroom. An arbitrator will render decisions on certain issued during the arbitration. The benefits of arbitration are that spouses can pick the issues they need decided and achieve quick resolutions to the issues. An arbitrated case can be concluded in a matter of months when a similar case could take years to wind through the courts. Arbitration can also allow the spouses to retain a measure of confidentiality to their proceedings.
- Med-Arb -Med-Arb refers to a process that often begins with mediation but can transition to arbitration. In Med-Arb, the person who serves as the mediator may also act as the arbitrator, but it is also possible to have two different people serve the functions. Mediation is the primary function of this hearing, but it can transition to arbitration when mediation has failed.
- Collaborative Divorce – Collaborative divorce functions similar to mediation in that spouses are attempting to craft settlements to various issues. A collaborative divorce often seeks to limit court battles, and attorneys are heavily involved, but cases could also involve specialists or other professionals. When couples can reach agreements on issues, it can eliminate the need for contentious trials.
By investigating these options, you may be able to save yourself time, money, and unnecessary emotional strain, especially if your former spouse is willing to work through alternative methods to resolve important matters.
Knowing which option is best for you is not always apparent. Specific divorce options can have very attractive advantages for some people but could also carry serious risks.
You should take the time to discuss your case with an experienced divorce attorney so you can explain what is most important to you and get help prioritizing your goals. You will be able to pick the best option for yourself when you retain legal counsel.
Lawyers can be enormously beneficial during arbitration, mediation, and Med-Arb proceedings. They can help you achieve the most favorable outcome by assisting you in many ways.
One area for which a lawyer can be beneficial in mediation or especially Med-Arb can be private discussions with mediators. There can often be a number of concerns with how information shared privately could be used against a spouse later on, and an attorney can advise you on what will be wise to disclose.
With arbitration, a lawyer is going to be beneficial because they are going to know how to present the most persuasive possible evidence as it relates to your case. More importantly, an attorney can also assist in choosing an arbitrator or mediator so you can be confident in the person you are appointing to serve in that role.
Mediation and arbitration often become more attractive options when spouses are seeking closure and want to avoid a prolonged court battle. Mediation can work well with spouses who are committed to trying to reach mutually beneficial settlements, but arbitration can also be effective in cases for which there are many disputes that need to be resolved.
While mediation is often private, it may be court-ordered in some instance,s and spouses ordered to participate in mediation could face possible penalties for non-compliance. A court may order mediation in a case involving child custody or parenting time issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediation is favorable because it is less formal and consumes less time than going to trial. It can also cost spouses far less money and also provide emotional relief. Mediators will help the spouses negotiate communication guidelines for the session and guide them through the process to keep the session productive. The needs and interests of each spouse are central to the conversation, and the spouses retain control over the resolution. Mediators will not give advice or make decisions for the spouses.
Mediation can allow for more creative solutions to disputes, whereas options are more limited in litigation or arbitration. Mediation is also private and voluntary, providing satisfaction for the spouses because they have crafted agreements themselves. Mediation can help repair or strengthen relationships and significantly reduces hostility.
Divorce mediation can benefit divorcing couples in a number of ways. Some of the leading advantages to this type of divorce include:
- Putting the burden of negotiation on someone else while still having the assistance of an experienced attorney
- Having an objective person evaluate the terms of your divorce
- Often less contentious than other types of divorce
- Typically less expensive than contested divorce
- Usually faster than other types of divorce
A mediated divorce can make the overall divorce process easier, but it is still important to have legal representation on your side so that all of your needs are addressed by the mediator.
What is the difference between binding and non-binding arbitration?
In binding arbitration, the spouses waive their right to trial and agree to accept the arbitrator’s decision as final. Non-binding arbitration allows spouses to request a trial if they do not accept the arbitrator’s decision.
Can an arbitration award be appealed?
A person has to confirm their arbitration award by petitioning the Superior Court of New Jersey. State law provides that a party to an arbitration can within three months of the award commence an action for the confirmation of an award or its modification, correction, or avoidance. A court will usually confirm an arbitration award, making it an enforceable judgment.
Arbitration awards may be appealed, but are rarely overturned. Arbitration awards can only be vacated for fraud, corruption, or similar wrongdoing on the part of the arbitrators, and they can be corrected or modified only for very explicitly defined mistakes as outlined in state law.
Don’t hesitate to contact a legal professional about your settlement dispute options. The Monmouth arbitration and mediation lawyers at the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. are prepared to help you and your spouse make qualified decisions about your divorce. Contact our offices at (732) 898-2378 for more information.