What is Arbitration?
Like negotiation or mediation
, arbitration is another form of Alternative Dispute Resolution
(ADR). As with those other forms of ADR, divorce arbitration is governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure
and both parties must consent to its use.
Arbitration can be thought of as occupying a middle ground between the traditional litigation process and mediation. Similar to mediation, the arbitration process is overseen by a neutral, third-party (the arbitrator
). But the arbitrator also shares some similarities with the judge of a traditional litigation matter, such as the ability to render a final, binding decision. Arbitrators will hear the arguments and consider the evidence put forth by both parties. And like judges, arbitrators always have impressive professional experience and qualifications, which will ensure that they have a thorough understanding of all relevant aspects of Texas family law.
Voluntarily Choosing to Arbitrate
Like all methods of alternative dispute resolution, arbitration is voluntary, which requires both parties to agree to the method’s use before proceedings may begin. This voluntary aspect of arbitration also extends to the identity of the arbitrator. Before making their selection, parties will have the opportunity to review all arbitrator candidates. The lawyers at Kirker Davis LLP have extensive experience with Cedar Park’s arbitrators and can shape your arguments to match each arbitrator’s dispute resolution style. While many couples do not both to consider arbitration until after a dispute has arisen, there is no requirement that couples wait until then. Many forward-thinking Cedar Park couples are drafting premarital
and postnuptial agreements
that outline arbitration requirements in case a dispute arises in the future. By opting for arbitration before a dispute exists, these couples are often able to reduce the severity and duration of disputes. In addition, arbitration is not limited to the resolution of specific categories of disputes; indeed, it can be used for disputes of all types, such as pet custody
While many couples have been pleased with arbitration, the method may not be the best option in all circumstances. Please read below for a better understand which couples are best served by arbitration.
Who is the Arbitrator?
As was mentioned briefly above, the arbitrator operates similar to the judge of a public court. After hearing the arguments and considering the evidence presented by both parties, the arbitrator will render a final decision. For Cedar Park couples in arbitration, the arbitrator will most likely be a well-respected member of the Cedar Park legal community, such as a retired judge or prominent family law attorney. In this way, the parties can rest assured that the arbitrator will be able to render an equitable decision.
What are the Benefits of Arbitration?
While many couples are able to reap a multitude of benefits from arbitration, this method of dispute resolution may not produce the best results in every situation. Whether arbitration can produce the best outcome in your matter will depend on a number of factors. It is best to discuss all of your options with a qualified lawyer. With this in mind, a few arbitration benefits include:
- Increased Control: Arbitration provides the parties with a much greater amount of control than what is available with traditional litigation. In traditional litigation very few decisions are up to the parties – the judge, the schedule – all are determined with very little, if any, input from the parties. In contrast, parties in the arbitrations are free to set many of the terms, including the choice of arbitrator, the setting, and the schedule. Many couples in Cedar Park have remarked that this increased sense of control has led to more satisfaction with the entire process.
- Increased Privacy: The increased control enjoyed by those who opt for arbitration can also provide increased privacy. Instead of Cedar Park couples needed to trek all the way to the county courthouse for proceedings, they can instead choose any neutral setting, such as an office park. In addition, the arbitration process is a private one, so no part of the proceeding will be made available to the public – unlike in court proceedings, which are made public. For couples that place significant value on confidentiality, arbitration will likely prove an attractive option.
- Increased Speed: In addition to increased privacy and control, arbitration can offer significantly faster timelines than traditional litigation. Instead of being forced to navigate traditional litigation, couples who choose arbitration can bypass the crowds in the public court system by choosing a time and place that works for them. Arbitration routinely sees matters resolved in a matter of weeks or months and not years! Those couples who would prefer to resolve their matter quickly should consider arbitrating their matter.
- Decreased Costs: The old adage that “time is money” holds true in the legal context. For this reason, individuals who find themselves in a legal dispute typically wish to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. The increased speed and efficiency of arbitration helps to keep costs far lower than in traditional litigation.
Contact a Cedar Park Divorce Attorney for Help Today
Do you think your matter could benefit from arbitration? Please feel free to contact
our offices at (512) 746-7399 to discuss your options with one of our experienced Cedar Park lawyers today.