All About Settling Legal Disputes Out of Court
Many courts have options in place to keep people out of the courtroom and help to settle disputes in other ways. These are called mediation and arbitration.
Arbitration and mediation are very similar. They are an alternative means to regular litigation and often used in conjunction with a litigation. Sometimes the courts will give couples the option of using arbitration or litigation during a divorce proceeding to see if they can’t come up with an agreeable solution to dividing their assets.
A mediator’s job is to listen and help facilitate the negotiations between the two parties. In an arbitration, the arbitrator’s job is to ensure that the couple comes to an agreement.
Facilitators and Panels
Both proceedings employ a third party that will be the facilitator. This person oversees the entire process and helps the couple to talk things out. Mediation is non-binding and arbitration is a binding process.
In short, arbitration is a means in which to avoid litigation or court proceedings. The very process of arbitration or mediation may be voluntary or it may be compulsory (required by the courts).
It’s not at all unusual for arbitration to be done with a panel of arbitrators. They will assume the role of judge and make appropriate decisions depending on the evidence that is presented to the arbitrator. They will also give a written opinion. Decisions are made by the majority rule which is why there are usually three arbitrators to a panel.
A mediator, on the other hand, will typically just sit in on the discussion and help to move things along by gently nudging both parties to talk things out and come to an agreement. They assist in helping to facilitate the discussion and ensure that the couple doesn’t get hung up on little details nor sit and argue about things that don’t pertain to the case.
By using arbitration and mediation, the cost of court dockets and trials is greatly reduced. It’s far more cost-effective to use arbitration and mediation than it is to tie up the courts in arguing over who gets what.
Mediation has a very high success rate as both parties are in an environment where they can present their side of things to an uninterested third party that will help them to put things into perspective. It’s an ideal way to limit the issues and keep them in their proper perspective. Since it’s a neutral location, both parties are much more likely to sit and listen than to stress over who gets what. It reduces hostility and helps everyone to see things in a more clearer light.
A Pre-emptive Strategy
One advantage to mediation is that it can be used for anything, there is no need to wait for a lawsuit. This can stop huge issues before they become huge.
Mediators are not allowed to give any legal advice under any circumstances. All participants will be told this right up front and if any legal advice is desired they will have to seek the advice of an attorney.