Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to a number of processes that help parties resolve their issues without a trial or without involving the Court at all. The most common ADR processes include mediation, arbitration, collaborative family law, parental coordination, and neutral evaluation. ADR is generally a less-formal approach which is kept confidential and is often less stressful than traditional methods involving lengthy Court proceedings. Other potential advantages include speeding up the settlement process and saving money spent on attorney’s fees.
The types of ADR that our clients engage in most frequently are:
- Mediation: This is a process by which a neutral, third-party is appointed by the parties in order to assist in resolving a dispute. In mediation, the parties have the ability to resolve their own disputes resulting in creative solutions, more satisfaction, lasting fruitful outcomes, and improved relationships. The mediator will help draft an agreement that can be incorporated into a final order.
- Arbitration: In arbitration, a neutral person called an arbitrator listens to evidence and arguments from both sides and then makes a decision. In “binding arbitration,” the parties agree to accept the decision of the arbitrator. In “non-binding arbitration,” the parties can request a trial if they do not feel satisfied with the arbitrator’s decision.
- Collaborative Family Law: In this approach, a couple seeks to end their marriage in a cooperative manner without involving the Court. At the same time, each party has an attorney, a financial professional, and/or a coach offering them proper guidance and support. However, if one of the spouses decides to go to court, then both parties must hire new attorneys. This condition motivates people to continue working under this approach.
- Neutral Evaluation: In this process, a neutral person evaluates both parties’ arguments on the basis of each side’s weak and strong points. The evaluator may also provide settlement assistance and case planning guidance with the two parties’ consent.
- Parental Coordination: This approach involves an experienced legal professional who assists high-conflict parents with carrying out their parenting plan. The parenting coordinator makes final decisions within the scope of their contract or the Court’s scope. This method is helpful for parents to resolve their issues in a timely manner and promote a meaningful relationship with their children.
Our lawyers have the experience and expertise to advise clients on the forms of dispute resolution approaches and help clients resolve their disputes in a manner that is best suited to their circumstances.