Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that parties can use to resolve a legal dispute, include divorces and other family law cases. An arbitration involves both parties, each of whom is typically represented by an attorney, as well as a neutral third-party decisionmaker, who is called an arbitrator. Each side presents evidence under oath to the arbitrator, although the arbitration proceedings are far less formal, as the rules of evidence are relaxed. The informal nature of the arbitration proceedings tend to make it a much more streamlined process than traditional litigation. Arbitration is not a terribly common method of alternative dispute resolution in family law matters, but it can be an effective one.
One downside to arbitration is that you not only are paying your attorney to represent you, but you also must pay the arbitrator for his or her time. However, if you are able to resolve your divorce case through arbitration, you are likely to save substantial amounts of time and money in attorney’s fees that you otherwise would be spending to litigate your divorce case in the courtroom. Arbitration can be particularly useful when the parties have only a few contested minor issues to resolve. Furthermore, an arbitrator’s decision often is similar to the decision that a judge would make in a similar case, so it gives the parties an idea as to the potential outcome of the case if they were to pursue it in court.
The Washington divorce lawyers at Pacific Northwest Family Law are eager to answer your questions and help you understand the ins and outs of arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as they pertain to your divorce case. As your attorneys, we will focus on how best to represent your interests and achieve the goals that you wish to reach, whether your objectives involve the use of ADR or not. We have handled countless divorce and family law proceedings over the years, both through traditional litigation in court and the ADR process. We will work with you to create the best strategy possible in your case. Call our offices at (509) 792-3591 and learn how we can help you with your Washington divorce, legal separation, or family law case.