Monmouth County Med-Arb Lawyers
When considering divorce, many couples want to avoid the potentially long, drawn-out process associated with contested and even uncontested divorce. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to simplify a divorce, including both mediation and arbitration. Recently, though, divorcing couples have been combining these two methods into one, called “med-arb.”
With med-arb, couples enjoy the benefits of both mediation and arbitration. While this process is generally easier than a standard divorce, individuals facing med-arb in Monmouth County may still need the help of a dedicated attorney from the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq.. Our team can help you protect your rights and interests even when you are facing mediation, arbitration, or med-arb.
Why Do I Need a Med-Arb Lawyer?
While an attorney for mediation and arbitration in divorce proceedings isn’t required, you should hire an attorney to be a part of the mediation and arbitration process. The benefits an experienced mediation and arbitration lawyer can provide are that they can establish ground rules for the process and clearly lay out the issues to be discussed and resolved in a clear, objective, and calm manner.
Additionally, a knowledgeable mediation and arbitration attorney can be a neutral third party that takes on the role of the med-arbiter through the process. if necessary. There are some risks that can arise with using a traditional med-arbiter, particularly when confidential information is exchanged with them. If they introduce confidential information during the med-arb process and one of the parties is not able to rebut, this can create a difficult situation.
In addition, the information disclosed to a traditional med-arb is not considered to be confidential. However, when an attorney serves as the med-arb, then, any confidential information can safely be disclosed without any risk of it being shared.
One of our attorneys experienced in family law can advise you on what to expect in your med-arb process so you won’t be any unexpected surprises. In addition, they can advise you on whether you have grounds to appeal an arbitration award.
Med-arb is a popular alternative to standard divorce procedures since couples can stay out of court yet still have someone give a “ruling” on their situation if necessary. In general, spouses will start with mediation, during which a third-party mediator tries to help them reach agreements on property division, child custody, child support, and other common divorce issues. If couples still cannot agree on these issues following mediation, they move into the arbitration stage.
With arbitration, couples present their positions to an arbiter, who then makes a ruling on their divorce. The arbiter has the authority to create legally-binding agreements, where both sides must adhere to the final decision made by the arbiter.
In some cases, couples may agree on certain points in mediation, but other areas remain where they can’t reach an agreement. In this case, the couple may choose to formalize their points of agreement and submit the remaining areas of disagreement to arbitration.
Benefits of Med-Arb
One clear benefit of med-arb is the time and expenses saved by using this process rather than litigation to settle your divorce. Sometimes, each spouse is so far apart from each other in their viewpoints on certain issues that it is very difficult for them to settle a divorce on their own. In med-arb, the couple has the benefit of a third, neutral person to help resolve the issues.
Another benefit of med-arb is that the issues being disputed in the divorce can usually be settled in one sitting. You have to work with only one person, and you don’t have to retell your story to a different audience if mediation fails. This can save you time and frustration for you that you may experience if you have to repeat your story to a judge and jury that hasn’t been with you from the beginning of the dispute.
The third benefit of med-arb is that the couple has a clear understanding that after the session, the dispute will be resolved one way or another. The final decision made in mediation and arbitration is legally binding.
Closing the book on this chapter of their lives can often be a huge comfort to both parties. They can then focus on rebuilding their new lives separately after the resolution.
One final benefit of the med-arb process is that in the event that mediation and arbitration are needed, there will be clear objectives involved that will make the process simpler. Often, many issues in a dispute are settled in the mediation process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions about the med-arb process that will help you make sure you fully understand the details of the med-arb process.
What are the Key Steps of the Med-Arb Process?
The med-arb process begins with both parties creating and signing an agreement on how the process will proceed going forward. The agreement serves as an outline for the steps involved. The agreement also confirms that if there are any issues left unresolved after mediation, they will be solved in arbitration.
Since in med-arb the same person is acting both as the mediator and the arbitrator, the process usually lasts from a few hours to an entire day. In most cases, mediation usually occurs first, with both parties trying to reach mutually beneficial solutions to their issues with the guidance of a mediator. Following this, arbitration takes place, where any unresolved issues are decided by the arbitrator.
What Rules Apply to Med-Arb?
The rules for a med-arb session are much more relaxed than in a traditional courtroom process. With reason and subject to applicable law, couples may be able to decide the rules of the session for themselves.
Can I Force My Spouse to Enter Med-Arb?
No, you cannot force your spouse to enter Med-Arb. While arbitration is necessary in some cases, mediation is always voluntary. The goal of mediation is for couples to work together to achieve an amicable resolution, and forcing your spouse to enter this process goes against this idea.
Contact a Med-Arb Attorney in Monmouth County
If you and your spouse are looking for an alternative to a standard divorce process, you might benefit from the combination of mediation and arbitration. Contact the attorneys of the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. today at (732) 898-2378 to discuss how this process can help you solidify your divorce terms and allow you to move on with your life.