In mediation, there’s no judge, there’s no panel, there’s one mediator and two people. In arbitration, that is an actual course hearing done by lay people. In Illinois, we have three lawyers that sit on the arbitration panel. They then rule and it goes back to a judge. Then that person, at that point in arbitration, can appeal the arbitrator’s decision. In mediation, people can accept or reject it. They can do a whole mediation and then walk out and say, “I’m not doing it.” There’s nothing anybody can do about it.
With 30 years of experience in family law, Laura M. Urbik Kern is a certified mediator and family lawyer who concentrates on dissolution, family and juvenile law, child support, and complex domestic relations cases.