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What is the Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration?

What is the Difference

Between Mediation and Arbitration?

An increasing number of divorcing couples are choosing alternative conflict resolution methods within their divorce. Amongst the most common and beneficial types of litigation-free divorce alternatives are mediation and arbitration. Both of these forms of conflict resolution involve a neutral third party who will serve both parties with the end goal of reaching an amenable and amicable agreement. There are some key differences between mediation and arbitration which lead to unique advantages and disadvantages based on each couple’s unique circumstances.

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys take pride in offering dynamic and individualized legal solutions for our clients across New Jersey. We believe that avoiding litigation is both possible and often advantageous for those resolving even the most complex legal issues surrounding divorces such as child supportchild custodyalimonyequitable distribution of assets, and much more. Our firm is built on the belief that the cookie-cutter legal service of larger firms do not do enough to meet the unique needs and concerns of divorcing couples.

Call our Morristown office at (973) 447-3943  to discuss how mediation or arbitration may be able to help you resolve your divorce in a much easier and more amicable manner in a strategic planning session with a member of our legal team today.

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“The Similarities of Mediation and Arbitration”

At a high level, mediation and arbitration proceedings are very similar. They both offer faster, less expensive, and less contentious alternatives to actual courtroom litigation. The timeline set forth by our mediation and arbitration lawyers will often look something like this:

  • Deciding on a method of conflict resolution which works for both you and your spouse (mediation, arbitration, litigation, etc.)
  • A mediator or arbitrator will be selected who meets the requirements of all parties. If this individual is not to the satisfaction of either party, you should continue searching
  • The mediation and arbitration process will begin with both parties meeting with your impartial mediator or arbitrator
  • At these hearings, both parties will present their needs, concerns, position, and related evidence as necessary
  • Mediators or arbitrators will collect this information and take everything into consideration before rendering a decision
  • Ultimately, your impartial mediator or arbitrator will come to either a recommendation or a final decision (this is where meditation and arbitration differ)

As you can see, mediation and arbitration are more alike than dissimilar in many regards. However, the few differences that do exist can have a massive impact on your case and your legal standing. It is a great idea to understand mediation and arbitration fully before deciding which is best suited to resolve your legal disputes.

Arbitration and Mediation Attorneys Discuss Differences

Your Randolph arbitration and mediation attorneys may recommend different approaches to resolve your divorce conflicts based on your individual needs. While mediation and arbitration are similar, choosing which is right for you and your spouse is a critical decision which can have long term effects. Here are the key differences between mediation and arbitration in New Jersey:

Final Judgement vs. Recommendation – Arbitrations are generally used to render final judgments, which are legally analogous to final judgements from NJ judges. On the contrary, mediators will offer recommendations at the end of the mediation process, which can be accepted, modified, or rejected by the parties involved. It is important to note that arbitration may be non-binding dependent on the nature of your arbitration agreement.

The Right to Modify or Appeal – If you and your spouse come to a divorce agreement as part of a mediation, that agreement cannot be formally appealed, but you may choose to take your divorce case to court if the terms are unreasonable. Arbitrations, however, are considered final decisions. Therefore, dependent on the terms of your agreement going into arbitration, you may not then take your case to court. Arbitration judgments may be eligible for an appeal on the same grounds that court judgments are able to be appealed.

Arbitrators vs. Mediators – The role of an impartial arbitrator or mediator may be similar, but their authority and background can differ greatly. Arbitrators are uniquely trained to act in a similar fashion as a New Jersey judge. Mediators may be acting mediation attorneys or professional mediators, and have somewhat more flexibility when rendering recommendations.

Contact our Divorce Mediation and Arbitration Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our divorce mediation and arbitration attorneys understand that no two divorces are alike. For this and many other reasons, we offer several alternatives to litigation based divorce for our Morris County clients and across New Jersey. Our attorneys view each divorce case as a new opportunity to help build a solid foundation for our client and our client’s families moving forward into their new lives.

If you or a loved one is considering using mediation or arbitration as a conflict resolution method within your divorce or other family law dispute, please contact us online or through our Morristown offices by calling (973) 447-3943 today for a strategic planning session.