Written by Jason Kang
Going to court before a judge and having them hear evidence to make a decision on a matter can be useful when parties are in constant disagreement. However, the process of attending court to obtain a decision can be very time consuming, stressful, and expensive.
Therefore, you may want to look at other methods that can help bring both parties to an agreement without proceeding with a trial. The most common forms of dispute resolution alternatives include negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. These techniques are now called “appropriate dispute resolutions” also known as “ADR”.
Negotiation consists of any non-facilitated communication in which two opposing parties discuss steps they may take to resolve their dispute. This is typically conducted by the parties themselves or indirectly through people on acting on behalf of the parties, such as lawyers. The advantages of negotiations are that they are inexpensive, less time consuming than trial, and may help reserve the relationship between both parties.
Mediation is similar to negotiation in the sense that a negotiation takes place between the disputing parties. However, in a meditation, there is neutral professional who manages the negotiation process. The mediator assists the parties in negotiating the resolution of the issues at hand. A mediation is particularly important in family law matters where the costs of prolonged litigation are often beyond the parties means and where the legal disputes involve children.
Arbitration is a dispute resolution where the parties agree to submit their dispute to a neutral third party, an arbitrator, and agree to be bound by that arbitrator’s decision. Only arbitrators who are qualified as family dispute resolution professionals may conduct an arbitration in relation to a family law dispute. Arbitrations hearings are generally formal and follow the same order of proceedings.