Family arbitration is a form of private dispute resolution in which you and your ex-partner appoint a fair and impartial family arbitrator to resolve your dispute. Both of you enter into an agreement under which you appoint a suitably qualified person (an arbitrator) to adjudicate a dispute concerning finances or children. The arbitrator’s decision is called an Award (finances) or a Determination (children). Linda is a qualified children arbitrator.
The principal benefits of family arbitration are:
Speed: the timetable is up to the parties to agree. And arbitration is likely to take significantly less time than court proceedings.
Confidentiality: the entire process is protected by strict confidentiality.
Costs: it can be a lot less expensive than going to court. Both parties pay the arbitrator’s fees, the costs of a venue and the cost of a transcription.
Flexibility:both parties and the arbitrator have discretion over the procedure they adopt.
Choice of arbitrator: in court you can’t choose the judge; in arbitration you get to choose the arbitrator.
Arbitration and mediation can complement each other. The mediator can recommend that the use of arbitration, particularly if there is a discrete issue that cannot be resolved in mediation. Arbitration, unlike court, can deal with a single issue.
The decision of the arbitrator is the equivalent of a final judgement and is binding on the parties.
After ten years of marriage, the couple wanted a divorce. During that time the wife (my client) had supported the husband in his high-earning occupation. As a result she was unable to establish a career of her own. There were no children. My client wanted to be as independent as possible but her future income was going to be limited.
They opted for a collaborative process where the couple agreed the sale of the family home, the pension sharing and the future maintenance for my client. The only issue was the arrears of maintenance to which the husband could not agree. To help them find a way beyond this impasse, I suggested they appoint an arbitrator to decide on whether the maintenance should be paid.
The arbitrator decided that the arrears of maintenance should be paid. Both parties accepted the decision. Opting for arbitration was an innovative approach which both parties agreed they wanted to try.
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