A contested divorce or child custody case can often result in long-term bitterness. This animosity can have detrimental effects on the parties, but also the children involved. Many times these situations can be avoided by an experienced North Texas divorce attorney who understands the benefit of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR for short. Gerald Tadlock strongly advocates for the participation in mediation to avoid the emotional damage that can result from a courtroom battle.
Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution options generally include mediation and arbitration. Mediation is the most common type of alternative dispute resolution, and is usually required by most courts. Gerald Tadlock is experienced as North Texas divorce attorney and is fully supportive of mediation. Arbitration is not as common, but has many benefits.
Mediation is conducted by a trained and impartial mediator. The parties and their attorneys convene in separate rooms and the mediator attempts to reach a resolution. If an agreement can be reached, it is memorialized in a document called a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA). MSA’s are generally binding and cannot be revoked absent extreme circumstances. Mediation can be used to reach full agreements, or to narrow the issues for a court to decide.
Arbitration is an alternative to mediation that can be very beneficial. In arbitration, the parties agree to have the case removed from the traditional litigation process, and placed under the control of a trained arbitrator. The arbitrator actually becomes the new judge and makes a binding decision on the disputed issues.
Arbitration is not as popular as mediation. The biggest downside to arbitration is that the decision cannot be appealed. However, there are several positive attributes to arbitration. First, arbitration circumvents the common problems associated with traditional litigation, such as:
- Trial dates can be changed based upon the court’s availability. This often leads to years of unwanted, expensive and inconvenient delays. In arbitration, these delays simply do not occur, which is an enormous benefit to the parties.
- A courtroom is a public space that offers no privacy for the parties. Any member of the public can sit down and listen to embarrassing details of your life. Arbitration is completely private and closed to members of the public.
- In traditional litigation, you do not have the option of choosing your judge. In arbitration, the parties can reach an agreement upon the person who will act as the arbitrator. As a result, a party who may feel the judge is biased against them may feel more confident in a fair outcome in arbitration.
MAKING THE DECISION
When deciding if Alternative Dispute Resolution is right for you, contact an experienced North Texas Divorce Attorney to assist you in your decision. Gerald Tadlock has 18 years of experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution and can guide you in deciding how to best manage this important life decision. He mediates cases in Dallas, Collin and Denton Counties, but also throughout the State of Texas. Call us at 214-550-1122 or contact us by email.