Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation vs. Arbitration
Considering Courtroom Alternatives
If you don’t want to take your divorce to court, you may be looking for alternative dispute resolution options. Mediation and arbitration are the two most common alternative dispute resolution options for divorce. Both are similar in many ways, but the essential difference lies in who has the decision-making power.
In both mediation and arbitration, there are three main participants: the two spouses and a neutral third party. These two methods both eliminate the need for a judge or jury to make the decisions for you. They typically take less time than divorce litigation and can be done more economically and confidentially.
In mediation, the neutral third party is the mediator. The mediator helps the spouses negotiate an agreement over the issues in dispute. The mediator does not make the decisions for you. You retain all the decision-making power in your divorce. The mediator simply provides the information and guidance needed to make the best decisions for you. Mediation is most often voluntary, meaning both spouses must consent to the process and can end the mediation at any point. Mediation is cost-effective because it is efficient and does not require each party have an attorney represent them.
In arbitration, the neutral third party is the arbitrator. The arbitrator is not a legal representative of either spouse. The arbitrator will review the information in your case, hear both of your arguments, and will make a final decision on the matter. Arbitration is often binding, meaning the couple has no choice but to go along with the decision of the arbitrator. Arbitration is often court-ordered, meaning the couple is required to participate instead of taking their matter to court.
Speak to a qualified Massachusetts divorce mediator if you have questions about alternative dispute resolution. A mediator can review the details of your case and advise you on whether or not you need to take your divorce to court. He or she can also tell you what your options are for alternative dispute resolution. In many cases, mediation can be an amicable alternative to more adversarial routes to divorce like litigation.
If you have questions about alternative dispute resolution, contact Mediation Advantage Services for expert help. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can provide you the information and guidance needed to divorce outside the courtroom. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.