When married couples seek a divorce, there are many legal issues to sort out, including division of marital property, possible spousal support, and, if there are children involved, child custody issues as well. The legal system allows for a few different ways for the individuals involved to resolve the lingering issues to create a valid divorce agreement. One of the ways to get to an enforceable divorce agreement is through arbitration.
What Options Exist for Divorcing Couples to Find a Workable Divorce Agreement?
Some divorcing couples approach the divorce with a sense of cooperation and understanding, whereas others consider the whole process to be a zero-sum battle. There are all kinds of factors that influence each of these approaches, and there are many other variations in between the two. What is clear, however, is that some former couples are easily able to work together through a divorce, and some are less able to do so.
Because these different circumstances exist, the legal system allows for different approaches to working out the details of a divorce agreement. The three options are listed below:
Judgment. Naturally, when a judgment is sought in a divorce case, a judge is involved. In these cases, a judge is presented with the evidence from both sides along with their arguments for how they think the issues should be handled. For example, a wife may make the case that she is due spousal support after years at home raising the couple’s children, or a husband may argue that he deserves a greater share of the marital assets because of his financial contributions to the family. After the judge considers the arguments and evidence considering the laws that govern divorce, they hand down an enforceable agreement that the parties must accept or appeal.
Mediation. The second and much more collaborative option is mediation. In divorce mediation, the former spouses are joined by an objective third-party moderator tasked with helping them come to an agreement that works for both sides. Divorce agreements that come out of mediation are voluntary but not legally binding until the agreement is signed. Since both sides have a say, mediation may be most likely to find an arrangement that is agreeable to both sides.
Arbitration. Arbitration is sort of a mix of the other two options. An arbitrator, like a mediator, is a neutral third party who attempts help the parties find a settlement on the terms of their divorce. However, like a judge, the arbitrator may have the last say in finalizing an enforceable divorce arrangement, as long as that is agreed on by both parties going into arbitration.
In advance of the arbitration, the parties should agree on the topics that will be discussed and whether the outcome will be legally binding. They may also dictate other aspects of the process, including the schedule of the proceedings, how evidence should be considered, and if the decision can be appealed, among other possible considerations.
The arbitrator will carefully consider the arguments and evidence and apply the agreed-on rules according to the law to determine a fair agreement.
If the parties cannot work out an agreement in mediation, arbitration may be a good alternative. Arbitration also has advantages over a court divorce in that it can save time and be easier on the participants and their families.
Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Assist Clients with Arbitration
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are unable to come to an agreement on the terms for your divorce, you may benefit from the process of arbitration. The Cherry Hill divorce lawyers at Burnham Douglass are well versed in the ways to support clients through the process of arbitration. Contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. We are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.