Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyer Tampa Florida
There was once only a single method for divorce: litigation. Over time, people came to recognize that litigation isn’t the right approach for every divorce. It can create unnecessary hostility, cost a lot of money and take considerable time. It also leaves each spouse with less control over the outcome of the case because decisions are left in the hands of judges.
Thankfully, there are now efficient and effective alternatives for Florida couples who want to take a different approach to getting divorced. They include attorney-led negotiation, mediation and arbitration. Both mediation and arbitration are processes often referred to as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). At The McKinney Law Group, our Tampa, Florida alternative dispute resolution lawyer team can help you to evaluate the pros and cons of these approaches to determine if either might serve your particular situation well.
The Basics of Mediation
As the name suggests, a mediator is someone who helps facilitate agreement between two parties, and that’s the essence of this process. Instead of arguing in front of a judge, a divorcing couple sits down for sessions with a neutral third party called a mediator. Each spouse can also consult with his or her own attorney during mediation. In fact, it’s a good idea to have an experienced Tampa, Florida alternative dispute resolution lawyer by your side during mediation given how “high stakes” the process of reaching an equitable divorce settlement can be.
The mediator will not issue rulings or force either spouse to decide issues one way or another. Instead, they try to get couples to reach an agreement on their own. If and when all decisions are worked out, the mediator can document the terms of the settlement and submit it to the court for final approval.
This method has proven to be effective enough that some judges require couples to try it before going to court. If it is unsuccessful (for any couple), the case can move to litigation instead.
Factors to Consider
Mediation isn’t possible or appropriate for all couples. It will not be an option if one spouse refuses to negotiate in good faith or if there have been incidents of domestic abuse during the marriage. In either case, litigated divorce is the appropriate venue.
The Basics of Arbitration
Arbitration is essentially a litigated divorce done in private, presided over by an arbitrator instead of a judge. Compared to traditional divorce, arbitration is often faster, less expensive, and offers more privacy. Arbitrators are often (but not always) former judges and attorneys with considerable knowledge and experience in family law.
Instead of negotiating (like in mediation), each spouse presents their arguments to the arbitrator. The arbitrator is empowered to make the final decision in each matter and couples must agree ahead of time to abide by whatever decisions are made.
A potential downside to arbitration is that there is no appeals process if you disagree with the arbitrator’s decisions. However, appeals in regular court are not always guaranteed, and they usually prove to be very expensive and time-consuming, so many divorcing couples may forgo appeals anyway. Arbitration is a complex process and only works well for certain kinds of divorce. Our Tampa, Florida alternative dispute resolution lawyer team can help you determine whether this approach might work for you.
Talk to an Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyer Tampa, Florida, Trusts
Our firm can represent you in any divorce proceeding, including those negotiated by mediation and arbitration. To learn which option is best for you, contact us to arrange an initial consultation with an alternative dispute resolution lawyer Tampa, Florida residents trust. We look forward to speaking with you and to helping you make an informed choice about which approach to the divorce process is likely to be most beneficial for you.