What is the difference between a divorce mediation and an arbitration?

Mediation and arbitration are attractive alternatives to a court hearing for many divorcing couples in Florida.

People going through a divorce in Florida have many options when it comes to finding a resolution to the numerous issues that often arise. Mediation and arbitration are two popular options for handling the end of a marriage outside of the courtroom. As couples consider or prepare for a divorce, it may be helpful to understand the difference between these options in order to determine if they might be appropriate for their situation.

Understanding the basics of mediation

A mediator is a private party hired by the divorcing spouses to help them arrive at a solution they can both agree on. By remaining neutral, the mediator can assess what both parties want to get out of the divorce in terms of alimony, child support and the property division, and help them negotiate terms that everyone can live with. A mediation may last several sessions and both spouses may attend with their respective attorneys.

If the divorce is not likely to be acrimonious and there is a good chance the parties can come to an agreement peacefully, mediation may be a good option. Also, according to Forbes, mediation may be the more favorable way to go if there are children involved since the need for a battle in court will be eliminated. However, mediation can also be risky since if the mediation fails and no agreement can be reached, the case may end up having to be litigated anyway.

Arbitration offers another out-of-court option

An arbitration is similar to a mediation, with the main difference being that a decision reached by arbitration is binding in court, according to Entrepreneur magazine. However, unlike a mediator who helps the parties come to an agreement, an arbitrator has the ultimate decision-making ability when deciding the outcome of the case and the decision is usually not appealable. For many people, however, this is still a favorable alternative to the time and expense of having a trial in court.

When privacy is a concern

If either or both parties are worried about the details of their split becoming public knowledge, either mediation or arbitration may be an attractive option. Both types of proceedings are conducted with discretion and there is much less of a chance of any personal details coming to light.

When cases must be decided by the court, things may sometimes become contentious and matters people may want kept private could be aired out before the public and the press. This includes allegations of substance abuse, domestic violence or unbecoming behavior, and that can have a negative effect on a person's public standing. In addition, a record of the trial may be made available to the public.

Every divorce is different and people in Sarasota should choose the option that best suits their situation. They may find it beneficial to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss their case.