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Alternative Dispute Resolution FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

About Alternative Dispute Resolution

Litigation may not be the most appropriate approach for everyone. Depending upon the nature of the issues in question and the level of cooperation between the parties, methods of alternative dispute resolution may provide more suitable paths for settlement.

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What exactly is alternative dispute resolution (ADR)?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), also called a divorce ADR,  refers to a number of methods used to settle controversies outside or in conjunction with the court system. Some of the methods include binding and nonbinding arbitration and mediation. When you choose the ADR route, it’s important to remember that you are still involved in an adversarial process and that the facilitators of whichever ADR process you choose are not allowed to provide you with legal advice.

What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?

In mediation, an independent, neutral third party known as a mediator works with you and your spouse and your respective attorneys to forge an agreement. The mediator does not provide legal advice to either party, nor does the mediator impose a result, but rather strives to help both parties find common ground. When family disputes involve children, mediation can be a highly effective tool for parents to maintain a co-parenting relationship and preserve the stability of their children’s lives during the turbulent process of divorce. Mediation can put important child-rearing decisions in the parents’ hands, rather than being left with an unpredictable outcome in the court system.

In arbitration, a neutral arbitrator listens to the details of the case and renders a decision. The proceeding is similar to that of a trial in the court, but the procedural and evidentiary rules are more informal and may provide a process tailored to the specific issues and the parties. In nonbinding arbitration, either party can reject the decision and then move on to binding arbitration or the court system. In binding arbitration, parties agree to abide by whatever the arbitrator decides and the right to appeal the arbitrator’s decision is severely limited.

If the ADR process is neutral, why do I need a lawyer?

Neither a mediator nor an arbitrator is in a position to give independent or specific legal advice. In some cases, your mediator may be a mental health professional, financial professional or other professional and therefore is not able to give legal advice, even if the process lends itself to that option. Moreover, if you do not have a lawyer, you may not be aware of your entitlements or what the law may provide for in certain circumstances.

Contact Jacobs Berger, LLC, to work with a family law attorney in New Jersey

Jacobs Berger, LLC, is a legal practice devoted to litigation and mediation focusing on families. Reach out to our Morristown law office online or call 973-447-3943 to schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers. We are conveniently located at 16 Washington Street, Suite 201, Morristown, NJ 07960. Meetings can, upon consultation and agreement, be arranged at alternate locations.