Domestic arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It allows for the involved parties to resolve their dispute outside of court. These parties will have more control over the process and are able to appoint their own arbiter who will hear the case and decide the outcomes. These outcomes are called “awards” and are legally binding, meaning they are enforceable in court.
Arbitration is often confused with mediation. Both involve settling disputes via a third party outside of court, but mediation does not represent a binding agreement the way arbitration does and the mediator does not propose the settlement like in arbitration.
The process of arbitration is similar to that of a court case, but with a few important differences. Here is more information about the 7 basic steps in domestic arbitration.
Filing and initiation – One party submits a Demand for Arbitration to the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The other party is then notified by the AAA and will receive a deadline to submit their response.
Arbitrator selection – The AAA will work with both parties to select an arbiter. This arbiter may be a divorce attorney in Atlanta, but can also be a subject matter expert for commercial cases.
Preliminary hearing – The arbiter will meet with both parties to discuss the process for arbitration including witnesses, depositions, confidentiality, and more.
Information exchange and preparation – Each party will prepare for their presentation to the arbiter and then meet to exchange information.
Hearings – Each party will present their side of the story to the arbiter, including any witness testimonies or relevant documentation. Typically, there is only one hearing but complex cases may require more.
Post-hearing submissions – If allowed by the arbiter, both parties may submit additional documentation after the hearing.
The award – The arbiter will make a decision, including an award, and close the case. This decision is final and enforceable by the courts.
There are a variety of reasons to choose domestic arbitration over litigation, mediation, or a court case. The biggest advantage is that you can choose the person who presides over the case, makes the decision, and hands out the award. Because you select the person, you can feel more confident that they will make a fair decision.
Because there is only one hearing, arbitration is often faster than other dispute resolution methods which may last months or even years.
Domestic arbitration is often less expensive than other methods.
Couples who choose domestic arbitration typically have few assets, no children, or are generally agreeable to the separation. Because of this, fewer hearings are necessary to reach a decision and often the parties can come to a conclusion on their own.
The goal of any arbitration case is to come to a fair settlement for both parties without the need for a long, expensive court case.
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If you would like to explore your domestic arbitration options, please call 470-746-6485 today. As a divorce attorney in Atlanta, I can help you find the answers you need to make the best decision for your family.