Divorce Mediation, Collaborative Law, and Arbitration
When many people think of a family law issue such as divorce or a child custody dispute, they envision a long and contentious trial leading to a judge’s decision on what is right or wrong for a family. This doesn’t have to be the case. You do not have to choose between going to trial or “giving up” on major points. You do not have to put your family’s future in the hands of a judge or jury who are virtual strangers. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options – such as divorce mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration – exist to help you and the other party reach a mutually acceptable agreement that truly meets your needs and outcome goals.
Exploring the Benefits of Divorce Mediation, Collaborative Law, and Arbitration
Divorce Mediation is a voluntary negotiation process in which both parties are present and participating. Each side may have legal counsel in attendance, or the parties may choose to have a neutral mediator oversee the communication process. The parties discuss issues at hand and work together to reach a compromise that they can agree to. If at any time negotiations break down, the case can move toward the courts.
Mediation is typically much less expensive than proceeding with open-ended negotiations or a divorce or child custody trial. Mediation can help recognize needs, restore communication and rebuilds damaged relationships. It allows parties to have a hand in deciding their future.
Sometimes called collaborative divorce or collaborative practice, Collaborative Law allows you and your spouse to work together to resolve your legal issues out of court. Each of you has your own collaborative family lawyer to coach and assist you to reach an agreement. You and your collaborative lawyers each sign an agreement at the outset that you will not go to court. This means your collaborative lawyers are completely committed to helping you reach a settlement.
In cases with complicated financial situations, the “collaborative team” will likely include one or more financial professionals who will work to untangle your financial issues.
Your collaborative team may also include a mental-health professional who will work with each of you to resolve any emotional issues that are preventing you from reaching an agreement.
Depending on how many issues you have to resolve, it usually takes several meetings with your collaborative professionals before you resolve all your issues. When that happens, your collaborative lawyers draft a divorce agreement.
In divorce arbitration, disputing parties agree to choose a trained decision-maker to hear both sides of the story. Much like orders from a judge, the decision of an arbitrator is binding. Arbitration is similar to trial, but is less formal and more private, as documents do not become public record. Parties choosing to enter into arbitration can speak for themselves, but generally prefer to have legal counsel present.
Arbitration is less costly and time-consuming than a full-fledged trial, often producing the same or better outcome results.
Divorce Mediation, Collaborative Law, and Arbitration Attorneys
At Carter Morris, LLP, in Houston, Texas, our attorneys are skilled in using various methods of alternative dispute resolution. With experience in divorce and family law mediation and arbitration, they can help you reach an amicable agreement that saves both time and money. To speak with one of our attorneys about settling your case outside of the courtroom, contact our office at 713-626-3345.