If you are facing a divorce and having initial conversations with attorneys, you are likely to hear the term "alternative dispute resolution" (ADR) at some point in your discussion. ADR is simply any means by which a resolution is reached without the court making the decision. It can include mediation, collaborative law, arbitration, parenting coordinators, negotiation or any other creative option that allows the parties to reach agreement on the issues.
Most family law attorneys advocate for their clients to reach a settlement agreement outside of the court process. There are a number of important reasons why they counsel clients to use alternative dispute resolution as an important and preferred option. Here are some compelling reasons to seek out ADR:
- Efficiency - ADR tends to be more cost effective for clients
- Expediency - ADR is usually quicker to get scheduled that court motions or trials
- Effectiveness - ADR involves a more flexible approach that allows for parties to address important underlying issues in order to reach resolution
- Flexibility - ADR can be anything you want it to be which allows for parties to work through their disagreements and find common ground
- Certainty - ADR allows the parties to have some measure of control over the process
Most importantly, attorneys know that parties that are able to reach a resolution outside of court are more likely to abide by that agreement. This means that they are unlikely to end up back in court. This is largely due to the feeling of control over the process and the ability to be creative in how they approach resolving their differences. You know your family best, so you should have a say in crafting a solution to moving forward.
If you have questions about alternative dispute resolution, discuss your options with an experienced attorney to learn the pros and cons of different processes.