Not every legal dispute has to end up in court. Everyone wants to achieve the best result possible for their situation, but not everyone wants a contentious, drawn-out trial. This is what alternative dispute resolution is for.
Despite the drama you might see unfold on television, many civil disputes — divorce, child custody, child support, etc. — can be resolved quickly and amicably through ADR.
Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution is exactly what it sounds like — it is a different way in which people can resolve disputes without the need for litigation. There are various ADR processes that are informal, less stressful, and often settled in an office setting where both parties can state their position, understand where each other is coming from, and seek a creative solution.
As mentioned above, there are several types of ADR available depending on your case and unique needs –
This is when a neutral person (mediator) helps parties, in collaboration with their attorneys, find a solution to their dispute. A mediator does not have to be a lawyer, but many lawyers double as mediators. Either way, the mediator is not there to represent one party over the other and has no authority to force either party to settle.
Informal Settlement Conference
While collaborative law and mediation are two of the more popular ADRs, informal settlement conferences still provide value. With this process, the goal is still to negotiate a settlement, but it can be conducted by the parties without help from their attorneys if they choose to do so.
This alternative dispute resolution is where both parties agree to have their case heard by an arbitrator outside of court. The arbitrator’s job is to listen to evidence and facts, and any decision is binding. This ADR can feel like going to court, but it is a significantly less expensive process than litigation.
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