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San Antonio Divorce Arbitration Lawyers

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Divorce arbitration is one of several forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”), meaning that it is an alternative to divorce litigation. San Antonio divorce arbitration is governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Essentially, divorce arbitration is a voluntary process by which both spouses agree to submit one or more disputed issues to a neutral third-party San Antonio divorce arbitrator who is both skilled and knowledgeable in all facets of family law and who will act as both the judge and jury. Just as a judge and jury do during divorce litigation, the divorce arbitrator will hear the arguments and positions of both parties, determine the facts, analyze the evidence, apply relevant law, and issue a decision in a way that is final and binding (or sometimes advisory and nonbinding). In most instances, the San Antonio divorce arbitrator is an experienced family lawyer with special arbitration training or a retired family law judge.

While the divorce arbitrator assumes the same role as the judge in a final trial, divorce arbitration is quicker and less official than traditional court proceedings. San Antonio divorce arbitration hearings are often held in private, less formal settings than a courtroom (i.e., a private conference room), and are designed to produce decisions in a prompt, efficient, and equitable manner.

Electing to Arbitrate a Divorce

Divorce arbitration is voluntary and two spouses must agree to this form of ADR over traditional divorce litigation. There are a variety of ways by which two spouses may agree to arbitrate their divorce. For instance, spouses may agree to arbitrate as part of an agreement incident to divorce, a premarital agreement, or a marital property agreement. While divorce arbitration has many benefits (discussed below), it is not necessarily the right choice for every divorcing couple and multiple factors particular to the couple should be considered. Oftentimes, divorce arbitration is most appropriate for parties who desire quick resolution of their disputes and who have sensitive confidentiality concerns.

Main Benefits of Divorce Arbitration

Whether divorce arbitration is appropriate depends on the unique circumstances and facts of each divorce. However, there are many benefits particular to divorce arbitration that divorcing couples should consider when deciding how to approach their divorce. The main benefits of divorce arbitration include, but are not limited to:

  • Choice of Arbitrator: The mutually agreed upon selection of an experienced San Antonio family lawyer or former San Antonio family law judge as an arbitrator can be an advantage over the random assignment to a judge and jury.
  • Confidentiality of Proceedings: While court records and court proceedings are public, San Antonio divorce arbitration is a confidential proceeding that takes place privately and the record of which is not made public. This aspect of San Antonio divorce arbitration provides greater confidentiality than traditional divorce litigation.
  • Convenience and Expedience: In San Antonio divorce arbitration, proceedings can start as soon as the parties agree on a hearing date. By contrast, it can sometimes take months for a court trial date to be set in divorce litigation. San Antonio divorce arbitration also takes place in a convenient hearing forum (such as a conference room), as opposed to the courthouse, which may be located far from the spouses’ homes.
  • Procedural and Evidentiary Flexibility: San Antonio divorce arbitration comes with both increased procedural and evidentiary flexibility. In addition to choosing the San Antonio divorce arbitrator, both spouses may set the rules of the arbitration proceeding, including what issues the divorce arbitrator will decide. Those issues may include (but are not limited to): custody, alimony, child support, and division of marital assets. This means, for instance, that a divorcing couple may mediate certain issues and arbitrate others.
  • Finality of Decisions: A San Antonio divorce arbitrator’s decisions may be binding, meaning that a displeased spouse cannot appeal the ruling and, thus, divorce arbitration offers a finality that divorce litigation proceedings do not.
  • Cost-Effective: Because the arbitration process is shorter than divorce litigation, divorce arbitration is often less expensive than divorce litigation.

Drawbacks of Divorce Arbitration

While the finality associated with divorce arbitration may be considered a benefit, the dissatisfied spouse is likely to perceive it as a drawback. For this spouse, there is no process by which to appeal the arbitrator’s decision. This contrasts with a trial, which includes an appeals process.

Contact a San Antonio Divorce Arbitration Attorney

San Antonio divorce arbitration is increasingly prevalent among couples hoping for a faster, more private, and less costly alternative to divorce litigation. Divorce arbitration attorneys at Kirker Davis LLP can answer any questions or concerns that you may have about San Antonio divorce arbitration and can offer guidance regarding whether arbitration or a traditional courtroom divorce would best suit you and your particular needs. If you are interested in arbitration as an alternative to a court trial in your divorce, contact Kirker | Davis LLP to schedule a meeting with a lawyer today.

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    • "The divorce process is not an easy one, but I always felt fully supported, informed, and guided by Chris and the staff. Chris always laid out the options, made me aware of the risks, and provided me with recommendations, but he also gave me the flexibility to work out things with my ex where I could, to speed up the process and avoid some legal expenses. I highly recommend Chris for family law representation. ”

      David - Divorce Representation

    • "I’m a lawyer myself and Holly helped me with my recent divorce. She did an amazing job. She covered all the little issues that would have collectively cost me a bunch of money in the long run if she had not been so detail-oriented and focused. She is a tenacious advocate for her clients who aims to resolve matters amicably but will fight tooth-and-nail for her clients if that is what it takes to reach a...”

      Anonymous - Holly is the lawyer who lawyers hire for their own divorces

    • "Chris handled my case professionally, efficiently, and demonstrated a very strong knowledge of family law. Chris took the time to learn and understand all aspects of my situation and used that knowledge to develop a focused strategy that led to a successful outcome. I highly recommend Chris. ”

      Martin - Excellent Lawyer

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    • "I praise Attorney Alyse Donnelly for all the hard work and hours she put in my divorce case. I believe that her experience, knowledge, and quick thinking resulted in beneficial results on my behalf. Ms. Donnelly along with Paralegal Stacy O’Brien and Attorney Michelle Fontenot are definitely assets to the Kirker Davis law firm. ”

      Bertha Solis - My divorce case

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      Daniel Kearns - Custody case

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