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Using alternative dispute resolution in a divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2020 | Divorce |

Divorce is a different experience for everyone. Some divorces can be easy, with two people recognizing a natural end to their relationship. Some divorces can be more challenging, especially if they center around child custody disagreements. To help account for all the different circumstances surrounding divorce, and many civil cases, courts and attorneys are exploring alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

As a legally binding substitute for courtroom litigation, ADR allows divorcing parties to seek resolution through compromise. Two types of ADR commonly used in divorce cases are mediation and arbitration.


Mediation employs a neutral mediator chosen beforehand by both parties. The mediator guides the disputing parties toward a resolution instead of delivering a ruling after hearing arguments. Mediation focuses on mutual understanding and compromise and is best suited for couples motivated toward reconciliation.

Disputing parties are more inclined to hold to mediated resolutions as well. Since disputing parties usually come to resolutions through communication and empathy, they become personally invested in compliance. Mediated resolutions often include clauses for resolving future disputes as well.


Like mediation, both parties must agree upon a neutral arbitrator. However, like litigation, the arbitrator is a ruling party. They will hear arguments from both sides then determine awards. Most of the time, arbitrated agreements stipulate that arbitration will settle future disputes as well. Arbitration best serves divorcing couples who find working with each other challenging but wish for a speedy resolution.

Fast and affordable resolutions

ADR is also generally cheaper and quicker than standard litigation. Being able to operate outside of court schedules and with reduced fees across the board means less stress for divorcing parties and less time spent in litigation. Usually, ADR is available to anyone who wants it, but a judge may sometimes rule for it. Divorcing parties interested in exploring mediation and arbitration find success reaching out to a local lawyer experienced with family law.