Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution plays a significant role in family law. From mediation to arbitration to collaborative divorce and dissolution, alternative dispute resolution is a growing field that allows for disputes to be resolved in a less litigious way and can often be less costly to the parties and their children, both emotionally and monetarily. Giampolo Law Group offers its clients the following service options by which disputed issues may be resolved:

Mediation: Mediation involves the parties and a mediator. The parties may each retain separate counsel or may elect to attend mediation without counsel. The mediator’s job is to assist the parties in reaching an agreement on the disputed issues. This may be as complex as an entire divorce, or as confined an issue as college contribution. The mediator cannot provide legal advice to either party, but may assist in suggesting what a Court could or possibly would do in a situation, so as to steer the parties toward a reasonable and equitable resolution. If an agreement is reached by the parties, they may request that the mediator memorialize their agreement through a Memorandum of Understanding. Each party may then seek independent counsel for advice prior to formally executing the same.

Arbitration: Arbitration is where a neutral third party is utilized as a judge in a private setting. Prior to arbitration, the parties may agree to make the arbitrator’s decision binding or non-binding. Parties utilizing arbitration are usually represented by counsel, who conduct a less formal “trial” of the issues prior to arbitration. This may include the introduction of evidence and/or testimony of the parties, experts and witnesses. While arbitration requires payment of the arbitrator for his or her time, this method of resolution is favored in cases that may otherwise be significantly prolonged awaiting trial and a decision by a Judge with an already overburdened docket. Moreover, arbitration may be “closed” to the public eye and thus the evidence and testimony may remain confidential; in a Court setting, all information would be public record.

Collaborative Divorce and Dissolution: Collaborative law involves each party retaining a collaboratively trained attorney to work through the complex issues of a divorce in a less acrimonious setting than litigation. The parties and counsel often utilize neutral experts to assist the parties in resolving custody, parenting time, equitable distribution and support. Most often relied upon are financial advisors and counselors specializing in child custody. These experts may meet with the parties once or several times throughout the process to provide assistance and support with the goal of resolving the matter without a court battle.