Family Mediation Services, Inc.

The Arbitration Alternative

Mediation and arbitration are two forms of what is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR"). All forms of ADR are desirable in that:

(a) They provide a reasonable alternative to traditional, expensive and time consuming litigation in which a judge makes a decision in a formal and public forum.

(b) The parties are motivated to focus on the resolution of the issues rather than on trial preparation.

(c) The parties have their "day in court", that is, a hearing and an opportunity to tell their story and to express their view of a fair resolution.

(d) Each party has a chance to hear a capable presentation of the other side's case, often for the first time.

(e) A window of opportunity is available to identify common interests and points of agreement, and to fashion a mutually acceptable resolution, thereby avoiding a win/lose outcome.

Arbitration is a process in which the parties voluntarily agree to submit their dispute to a neutral third party for final and binding resolution. The arbitrator is selected for his or her knowledge and expertise in the area of dispute. The hearing can be scheduled promptly, avoiding lengthy court delays, and at a time and place convenient to the parties and their attorneys.

Arbitration hearings are generally not transcribed and are therefore confidential and not subject to public disclosure. An evidentiary hearing is held, however, the strict rules of evidence do not apply. Evidence can be submitted by telephone, written reports, affidavits or in other ways that simplify the process - trusting in all cases that the arbitrator will be able to give the evidence the weight it deserves.

The entire arbitration process is informal and provides ample opportunity for the parties to reach an agreement themselves before the arbitrator makes a decision.

Contact Us if you are interested in arbitration or want to learn more about the process.

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