Alternatives to Court – ADR
There are several ways to resolve your family law issues without going to court. We call this non-court settlements or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
When to use ADR
Whether or not you use an ADR method should be decided sooner rather than later. Often spouses become convinced that they are right and the other spouse is wrong. As the dispute continues, it becomes harder to reach a solution that is agreeable and satisfies both spouses, making the switch to an ADR method difficult.
Why use ADR
Courts are often backlogged with cases. Litigation can be expensive. Parties may desire confidentiality rather than airing disputes in open court. Using ADR rather than the court route may save you time and money and preserve your privacy. For all these reasons ADR may be the best option for you.
Here are the most common ways to reach a settlement without going to court:
Collaborative Law is a way for spouses to reach a settlement without the threat of legal action. Each party signs an agreement saying they will not go to court. Lawyers with specialized training in collaborative law assist the parties. If for some reason the process breaks down, the participating lawyers are forbidden from representing a party in court.
Often problems or disputes between spouses can be resolved through negotiations. The spouses can get together, in appropriate circumstances, to discuss their family law issues and reach a mutually-acceptable solution. Family law issues can be complicated and you may prefer to have a lawyer help you negotiate or negotiate on your behalf.
Mediation is a way of resolving a dispute with the assistance of an unbiased, impartial person. The Mediator’s role is to assist each spouse in their negotiations. The goal of a mediator is to find mutually acceptable solutions to the family law problems. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong. A Mediator cannot force a spouse to settle the dispute or accept a particular solution. Both spouses must agree to the solution. After you have agreed on a solution, you should each consult with your own lawyers to ensure your legal rights are fully protected.
Arbitration is a way of having a dispute decided outside the courts by taking it to a mutually-agreed upon person or panel of persons. The arbitrator or arbitration panel will make a decision and the parties agree to be legally bound by it.