COVID-19 AND THE RISE OF ADR – FAST-TRACKING YOUR CASEKayte Rhodes
Increasingly, parties in a dispute seek alternatives to traditional litigation, such as a divorce trial, which can be both lengthy and costly. Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) has become a common option to the adversarial system employed in our overburdened courts.
Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the local family courts have been unable to provide for in-person hearings, delaying and complicating the resolution of family law litigation. As a result, the need for alternatives like arbitration and mediation, which can be provided virtually, has been greater than ever.
Mediation is the process by which an experienced mediator facilitates as a neutral the negotiations between opposing spouses to arrive at a fair settlement. A Mediator does not make any decisions, rather they guide the participants through all the many issues and complexities of the process. A Mediator cannot provide either party any legal advice.
Arbitration is like having your own private judge or decision-maker. Arbitration in the family law context usually is the result of the agreement of the parties to choose this ADR option. The arbitration process is usually less formal, quicker, and more cost-effective than a trial. Unlike a court trial by a judge, the arbitration process can be designed by the parties to go from start to finish much more quickly – weeks or perhaps months, depending upon the needs of the parties, and is more confidential and private than a public trial at the courthouse. A trial at the courthouse might be a year away, or sometimes longer. Unlike mediation, a decision resulting from arbitration is typically binding on the parties.
MannTuckerMuir has highly experienced family law litigators who can serve as your mediators or arbitrators. As litigators as well as mediators and arbitrators, we understand the substance of the law and the practical issues of litigation and the mediation or arbitration process.
- Our offices are open, with multiple conference rooms available, for in-person mediations and arbitrations. For those for whom in-person meetings are not feasible, we have full Zoom capabilities as well.
- Our rates are fair and reasonable, and we can expedite matters at a time when the courts cannot.