It’s good to mention arbitration. It’s another out-of-court method, but it does operate a little differently. Arbitration is much more formal than mediation and it can be binding or not binding. Both parties must agree to arbitrate, and they select an arbitrator who will hear both sides and then render an actual decision much like a judge. While not as formal as court, arbitration is much more structured than mediation. If you agree to binding arbitration, you must accept the decision.
In non-binding arbitration, you do not have to accept the decision of the arbitrator, but depending upon how the arbitration agreement was initially prepared, you would likely wind up appealing the determination. So while not as friendly as the others we’ve talked about, it’s still an alternative to court.
Bari Zell Weinberger is the owner and managing partner of Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group in New Jersey. She is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney.