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What Is the Difference Between Divorce Mediation & Arbitration?

Between mediation, arbitration, and litigation – mediation is the least formal process and the least expensive. It is conducted by a certified mediator who is a neutral third party who helps only to facilitate agreements and not to render any decisions regarding the dispute. Mediation is the only process that guarantees that any agreements reached are made directly by the parties. The entire process is confidential and statements made during the negotiations are not admissible in court. The agreements can be written into a legally binding document.

Arbitration is a little more formal than mediation, but not as formal as litigation. Usually it is more costly then mediation, but typically not as costly as litigation. The entire process is completely private. However, like a judge in litigation the resolution is put into the hands of the arbitrator; whereas, in mediation the resolution is left up to the parties. The arbitrator’s decision is legally binding and typically becomes a court order which is enforceable by the contempt powers of the court. Both mediation and arbitration can be handled more efficiently than litigation saving the parties time and money. These sessions can be scheduled by the parties; whereas, in litigation the schedule is determined by the court.