When it comes to divorce, couples are often encouraged to go to mediation and attempt to come to an agreement outside of the courtroom. But mediation doesn’t always work, and some disputes just cannot be decided without a judge or other legal figure making an official ruling. That is where divorce arbitration often comes into play, and we’ve created for you a list of things you should expect when entering arbitration in Sugar Land, TX.
7 Things to Expect During Divorce Arbitration
1. Starting the Process
Generally speaking, arbitration begins when you and your ex-partner mutually decide to hire a private arbitrator to handle any lingering disputes in your divorce. With this, you and your ex agree to give the arbitrator the authority to make decisions a judge would normally make, and you agree to abide by whatever decision the arbitrator comes to.
Arbitration allows you to skip most of the formal court process, while still reaching a final decision. Often, this stage will come after earlier mediation attempts have already failed, when parties are unable to decide on their own.
2. Getting a Final Decision
Unlike other legal processes like mediation, the arbitration will always result in an end decision being reached in your case. Arbitration requires you and your ex to both present your arguments to an independent party, who then issues a legally binding decision based on what you have presented. Generally, an arbitrator’s decision cannot be appealed and you and your ex will have to abide by whatever terms the arbitrator sets.
An important thing to note is that the arbitrator can only issue a decision on the disputes you and your ex-partner have agreed to have arbitrated. This means that if the only thing you and your ex cannot decide is, for example, the division of your assets; the arbitrator cannot take it upon themselves to decide to make a separate ruling on child support. They can only rule on what you have hired and mutually agreed for them to decide.
3. Choosing an Arbitrator in Sugar Land, TX
Once you agree to work with a private arbitrator, your attorneys will likely make a recommendation of who you should ultimately hire. Most of the time, your arbitrator will be a private lawyer or retired judge who is not connected to you in any way. The goal is to find someone with legal knowledge who can make an independent and unbiased decision. The hiring decision will need to be mutually agreed upon by both you and your ex.
4. Preparing Your Case
Your attorney will get the chance to prepare formal arguments for your case. They will be able to lay out the relevant facts that support your side of the dispute and will present any other evidence they think is relevant for the arbitrator to see. The arbitrator uses these arguments and evidence to make their final decision in your case.
5. Less Formality
The arbitration process tends to be a lot less formal than traditional court cases, often providing a more comfortable environment for couples to handle their disputes. There are still expectations for conduct and maintaining a respectful environment, but without as many rules and regulations as the typical court will have. Because of this, the environment tends to be less tense.
Arbitration also gives more opportunities for each individual to speak and be heard. These conversations are all done in private and are handled in meetings outside of the typical courtrooms that are open to the public. The only information that will be publicly available after arbitration is the final decision that is registered with the courts.
6. Faster Results
This generally means that you can schedule the sessions quickly, so the whole process takes less time. Because of the less formal nature of the sessions, it can also mean less preparation time and a speedier process to present your arguments and evidence.
7. Costs Associated With Arbitration
In the end, arbitration can be an efficient way to end any lingering disputes in your divorce, without having to go through the lengthy court process. It will require you and your ex-partner to mutually agree to the decision, but in the end may be a quicker and more affordable option that can benefit you both.