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What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in a Divorce Case?

Short of litigation, there are ways in which two parties can come to an agreement by using methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR can oftentimes be cheaper and less stressful on families in an already stressful time. In fact, some courts now require an attempt at mediation before they can proceed with litigation. Alternative Dispute Resolution is usually classified into four subcategories: negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration.

While each of these four methods has their own benefits and features, there are generally certain benefits of choosing ADR over litigation. These benefits include the fact that ADR is usually more cost and time effective as well as flexible in procedure. Apart from lessened complexity and formality, ADR also benefits families who wish to minimize stress and tensions. In fact, ADR can allow the process of divorce to remain civil and have less of an impact on the children. Furthermore, parties have the choice of a neutral third party, settlements are usually speedier, solutions are more tailored to the parties’ interests and the proceedings can be kept confidential.

The salient features of each method of ADR include:

  • Negotiation: In negotiation, participation is usually voluntary and there is no third party to facilitate the resolution.
  • Mediation: Mediation involves a neutral third party, or mediator, who facilitate the resolution process but cannot impose the resolution on the parties
  • Collaborative Divorce: In a collaborative divorce process, each party has a lawyer to guide the resolution process under contracted terms. No one imposes a resolution on the parties, but instead they reach an agreement with support of the attorneys and consulted experts.
  • Arbitration: In arbitration, participation is usually voluntary and there is a third party who imposes a resolution. It is important to understand that arbitration does not involve negotiation or mediation between the parties; rather it is very similar to a trial in front of a judge.

Whether ADR is the right choice for you and which method is the best fit for your needs is something your attorney can help you decide. Call us at 770-609-1247 to see which type of divorce resolution method would most benefit your specific case.