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What Is Divorce Arbitration?

Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The parties can submit their dispute to an arbitrator or group of arbitrator’s as an alternative to litigation. Arbitration is more formal then mediation, but less formal then litigation. An arbitrator is also a neutral third party, but one who acts like a judge and is a trained arbitrator. The arbitrator will make a legally binding decision regarding the dispute. Usually if a party fails to follow the decision of the arbitrator they would be subject to the same contempt powers of the court. If the parties are going to arbitrate their issues then both parties must agree to use this form of Alternate Dispute Resolution.

On October 1, 1999, North Carolina incorporated The Family Law Arbitration Act “FLAA” into its General Statutes, which allowed any cases involving family law issues to be submitted to arbitration, except for the divorce judgment itself. If the parties reach an agreement in arbitration it typically will not be reviewed for errors in law, unless otherwise agreed by the parties. Yet, if the agreement concerns the matters of child custody or child support then the court has the power to vacate the agreement if it was not made in the best interests of the child. Any awards made by the arbitrator on the issues of post separation support, alimony, child custody, or child support can be modified as set out in the General Statutes.