Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution. Unlike mediation where the parties reach a negotiated settlement, arbitration more closely mirrors litigation. In arbitration disputes are submitted to experienced and knowledgeable neutral attorneys or retired Superior Court Judges to hear arguments, review evidence and render a decision.
However, arbitration is often less formal, less complex and can often be concluded more quickly than court proceedings. Arbitration also gives clients more control over the manner of the proceeding.
For example, in arbitration, the arbitrator is selected directly by the parties. The ability to select the arbitrator is particularly helpful in cases where there are complex financial or custodial issues as the parties can ensure the arbitrator is knowledgeable on the nuances of the law.
Additionally, the schedule of arbitration is dictated by the parties rather than the Court.
A typical divorce trial does not take place over consecutive days or even consecutive weeks. Rather, divorce trials are often heard in piecemeal blocks of time over different dates pursuant to the Court’s availability and schedule. Arbitration is set according to the parties’ schedules and can take place for continuous hours on consecutive days. Thus, arbitration is often completed more quickly than a trial and results in client’s schedules being less disrupted during the proceeding.
Additionally, during arbitration, the parties and their attorneys determine the issues to be arbitrated in advance of the hearing, including whether to arbitrate related non-family law matters. A non-exclusive list of issues that the parties can choose to arbitrate include equitable distribution, pension issues, alimony, disposition of the marital home, custody of children, parenting time, and child support.
During arbitration, parties can also choose to retain separate legal counsel just as they would if they were to take their family law dispute to trial, or choose to remain self-represented. However, unlike litigation, parties can choose to enter into binding or non-binding arbitration. In non-binding arbitration, if either party disagrees with the arbitrator’s final ruling, they can choose to take their matter to court. The parties are not bound by decision. In binding arbitration, the parties choose to accept the decision of the arbitrator as legally binding and enforceable. The arbitrator’s decision is final and ends the dispute.
Each partner at Ulrichsen Rosen & Freed LLC has experience representing clients through arbitration. Additionally, Derek Freed is certified to serve as an independent arbitrator by the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys.
If you have questions about arbitration or any other family law related issue, please contact our firm. Ulrichsen Rosen & Freed LLC is focused exclusively on the practice of family law and serves clients throughout New Jersey including clients residing in Mercer County, Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Burlington County and Middlesex County.