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Divorce and Alternative Dispute Resolutions

Divorce can be stressful, and resolving  issues in court can increase tensions.  Courtroom settings may not provide the necessary support for delicate situations, and involved parties may feel like a judge is an unfamiliar and intimidating presence who gives orders that the parties are expected to follow without necessarily agreeing to.  Resolving everything in court, however, is not the only option for divorce.  Alternative dispute resolutions (ADR) offer different ways for parties to amicably resolve some of the more challenging issues in a divorce case before a judge or jury makes the ultimate decision.


One example of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is mediation.  Mediation is the go-to ADR for divorce cases in Arkansas.  A family law attorney is not necessary for mediation, but hiring an attorney prior to mediation is a good idea since a mediator cannot offer legal advice to the parties.  Essentially, mediators will attempt to reach a resolution for all parties and then review anything that remains in dispute.  Ideally, most issues would be resolved with an agreeable solution in mediation before a case is taken to court.

Benefits of Mediation

Mediation has many advantages, especially in the context of divorce cases.  ADR resolutions are faster than resolving everything in court, and parties in mediation are able to more quickly implement resolutions into their daily lives.  Additionally, mediation has the benefit of confidentiality, so parties’ arguments cannot be used against them in the future, thus providing an opportunity for parties to test their arguments’ solidity.

A mediator is a neutral body, making them a good audience to test an argument.  Depending on whether the mediator approves or disapproves the reasoning, a party can gauge if their argument is sound or not and worth taking to court.  Arguments are often about sensitive divorce issues like property disputes, custodial disputes, or reductions of support. Due to their impactful nature, it can be beneficial for parties to run their arguments by a mediator before going to court, giving parties the advantage of addressing difficulties before going to court to resolve them and avoiding an unnecessary and harsh court ruling.

Often, people involved in a divorce are parents, so divorce does not necessarily end interactions with a former partner.  Mediation can make these required interactions much more amicable.  Since mediation is a dispute resolution process, it allows the involved parties to have more input on the outcome of their resolution.  This can lead to much more amicable and long-lasting resolutions.  If parties feel like the resolution is more of a compromise rather than an order placed on them by a judge, they are more likely to honor it.  Mediation can give parties a sense of control that may be appreciated during the turbulence of a divorce.

Additionally, mediators can offer participating parties more time to work things out than a judge can. Specifically, mediators don’t just serve as overseers, but they devote time to work with the parties to ensure an understanding the legal issues at play and to reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion. .  If parties have questions about their resolutions, a mediator can help and confirm whether the resolution is the best compromise for all parties involved.

Call TLGNWA Today for Divorce Resolution Representation

Unsure if you should go to court or mediate in a divorce? Call The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas PLLC at 479-316-3760 to help you determine the best route to resolution.


Disclaimer: The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas PLLC (TLGNWA) provides general information about a variety of legal issues on this website as a public service. Information contained herein should not be considered legal advice on any specific matter. The use of information and reference links contained in this website do not constitute contractual, de facto, implied or any other form of attorney-client privilege or relationship. TLGNWA is not responsible for the use of information, forms, links, or documents contained in this website.

Due to the frequency and speed of changing laws, no guarantee is made as to the current validity or applicability of the information contained herein. Though we try to update information often, we recommend that readers with questions investigate current law or contact TLGNWA directly through our contact form or by calling (479) 334-3411.