Divorce takes time. Divorce disputes and fights extend that time significantly. However, one of the major problems with the court system is that if there is a dispute, it’s often very difficult to get in front of a judge. However, a California family court is not your only option.

In districts across California, arbitration is an option for people to move through family law disputes faster and more privately. However, arbitration is not like litigation, and there are some important things you need to understand about it.

The basics of arbitration

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution, much like mediation. In both, a neutral third party hears both sides out, and the meetings and discussions are not part of the public record. There is one major key difference: mediation is not binding, while the findings of your arbitrator are.

Before anyone goes into arbitration for a family law issue like divorce, they would sign a contract stating that the arbitrator’s decision is binding. Furthermore, the court will enforce the finding like a court order.

Limited appeal options

One major point to consider when considering arbitration for your case is the right to appeal. As all parties enter into the arbitration with an agreement to abide by the result, it can be extremely difficult to appeal these decisions.

Appealing arbitration findings would typically take a breach of duty or contract on the part of the neutral arbitrator. Without that, the contract governing the arbitration would hold firm.

Arbitration has its place.

Despite the drawbacks, the truth is that an arbitrator could be more efficient, more informal, and less expensive than going through traditional litigation. You may find that the advantages of arbitration outweigh the risks, but that’s only a decision you can make.