Dispute Resolution Alternatives

Before you trudge down the road toward your divorce, you should be aware that there is more than one alternative available to you to resolve your differences. It is important for you to understand the differences and for you to make the best choice for yourself. Here are some of the most commonly used alternatives--and here is some food for thought before you chew on those: "Is There Such a Thing as a Good Divorce"?


    Mediation is using a “third party” to assist yourself and your spouse in negotiating a settlement of some or all of the issues facing you. The mediator has no power to force an agreement. Normally, every effort is made to make statements made during mediation confidential, i.e., you can’t testify in a later Court proceeding that “She said ___________ while we were mediating".


   Arbitration is giving a third party the power to decide your case. Competent arbitrators knowledgeable in domestic relations law (and perhaps having had significant experience) can be empowered by an agreement between spouses to resolve the financial issues incident to a divorce. It is more problematic with child-related issues, given the State’s obligation to protect the interests of children.

Collaborative Law

    Collaborative law is an emerging mechanism in which you and your lawyers agree to use the services of an experienced third party (usually lawyer) to negotiate a settlement. Upon completion of the process, should it not succeed, the lawyers for the parties agree to withdraw from further participation. 

Retaining Lawyers

  Once retained, a lawyer serves as your advocate and will try to negotiate on your behalf.  


Litigation involves submitting your dispute to the Courts for a trial and a resolution. It usually involves both parties retaining counsel to represent and advocate their respective positions on the issues involved.

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