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.
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.
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:
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.
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.