When You Should Consider Binding Arbitration

August 8, 2016

alternative dispute resolution

Binding arbitration is one of the most commonly used forms of alternative dispute resolution. The process takes the place of a trial and ends ongoing negotiations over the matter decided by the arbitrator. For family law disputes, binding arbitration is available for deciding the 

  • Award of spousal support/alimony
  • Amount of child support
  • Property division in divorce
  • Assignment of debt in divorce
  • Sharing of retirement and insurance benefits 

It is not available for settling questions of child custody and parental visitation rights. However, parties to a family law dispute can pursue binding arbitration on some issues while taking other measures to resolve matters related to parenting. 

But why might binding arbitration be the right kind of alternative dispute resolution for you? There are three reasons. 

Going to binding arbitration can save you time and money. 

Getting to trial in a family law dispute can take years, preceded by seemingly endless rounds of evidence discovery, witness and litigant depositions, alternatively stalled and contentious negotiations, and competing motions put to the judge. Scheduling a binding arbitration hearing shortens that process considerably because both parties to the dispute agree to make their case with the information they have up to that date. 

Binding arbitration proceedings are kept private in almost all instances. 

Statements made during an arbitration hearing will be kept confidential unless both parties agree to disclose the information. This broad guarantee of confidentiality can protect the rights and interests of both the plaintiff and the defendant. Neither person may want other family members, employers, or courts learning facts they feel must be shared with an arbitrator in order to achieve their desired outcome. Such sensitive information could include abuse, financial misdealing, and mental health problems. 

Decisions made by binding arbitration cannot be appealed unless something illegal or egregiously unethical occurred. 

The decision issued by the arbitrator, who should be a neutral expert who has no knowledge of the dispute expect what he or she learns during the single arbitration hearing, is final. Decisions issued by a judge at trial can be appealed on many grounds. Practically the only way to challenge the result of a binding arbitration proceeding is to show that arbitrator had a significant conflict of interest or reached a decision so contrary to the facts that no fair hearing officer would reach the same conclusion. 

To learn more about your options for alternative dispute resolution, contact the Ohio family law attorneys at Edward F. Whipps & Association by calling (614) 461-6006 or completing this appointment scheduling form.

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