Alternative Dispute Resolution
Divorce & Alternative Dispute Resolution
Divorce, in most situations, is a messy process full of conflict. This should not come as a surprise because of the charged emotions that emerge when a couple decides to go their separate ways. But it does not have to be that way. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is one option that divorcing parties can turn to for amicable and durable solutions.
This option reduces costs involved in a divorce and allows the parties to work together and raise their children.
Alternative dispute resolution includes mediation, arbitration and other dispute resolution processes that do not involve litigation. The process is handled out of court to help find resolutions to legal issues. People opt for ADR to agree on settlements for child support, child custody, and property division.
An ADR lawyer can look at your case and help you determine whether ADR is the best option for your case. Your lawyer is always concerned about protecting your legal interest and if that cannot be done through ADR, they will tell you.
Alternative dispute resolution is a nonbinding confidential proceeding in which a third party facilitates the resolution of a dispute. The third party must be objective, which means they have to be neutral. Parties that choose the ADR path can select a mediator from lists of providers under that rule.
But they are free to select a mediator that does not appear in those lists. However, the court may prevent them from doing this.
ADR also refers to agreed binding arbitration under the Texas General Arbitration Act or the Federal Arbitration Act.
Two Types of ADR
The main means of ADR resolution are collaborative law and mediation:
- Collaborative cases: Each party retains an attorney in collaborative law. They have to agree to work cooperatively to resolve all issues through a negotiated settlement. The parties will have to go to trial with new attorneys if they do not reach an agreement. So their attorneys have to work hard to ensure there is a collaborative agreement to prevent the issue from going to trial.
- Mediation: It is an informal confidential process to settle a dispute. A qualified specially trained neutral third party or mediator runs the process. The mediator helps the parties identify their underlying interests, facilitates communication, and helps the parties come up with settlement options. Both parties negotiate settlement terms in a controlled environment but are not required o reach an agreement during the mediation process. A court is likely to approve any agreement reached during the process.
The mediator has to enforce procedures that are fair and ensure that all sides have a chance to be heard. Through mediations, the parties involved can express their frustrations and emotions that may be hindering negotiations. The mediator helps the parties think through their claims and ensure they all participate in the creation of any settlement agreement.
Mediation process duration depends on the complexity of the dispute, the willingness of the parties to communicate and commit, and the skills of the mediator.