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Mediation / Arbitration (Med/Arb) 


Mediation

Mediation is a process wherein the parties meet with a mutually selected neutral person, the  mediator, who assists them in the negotiation of their differences. The mediator will attempt to  get both parties to come to a negotiated settlement to resolve their dispute. A mediator will use  their powers of persuasion to broker a settlement by encouraging both parties to compromise.

Mediation usually begins with a joint session to set an agenda, define the issue and determine the  position of the parties. This allows the parties to organize the resolution process on an  issue-by-issue or a group-by-group basis. This joint session is then followed by separate meetings  between the mediator and each individual party and/or their counsel. This allows each side to  confidentially explain and elaborate upon their position and mediation goals, and also gives the  mediator an opportunity to ask questions.

Mediation can be used to resolve all types of family law issues, including both parenting and  financial/property issues.

While engaged in mediation, a party cannot be forced to settle by the mediator, and by  participating in the mediation process, a party does not give up their right to proceed with  arbitration or trial if a settlement cannot be reached.    

Arbitration

Arbitration is a process in which a neutral third party is selected to hear evidence and testimony  presented by the parties. The arbitrator considers the evidence and then renders a decision that  ultimately equates to a judgment received in a court proceeding (subject to a de novo hearing by  the Court). The use of arbitration can be by agreement of the parties, court ordered, and/or is  oftentimes required by the terms of a contract entered into by the parties, such as a listing  agreement, purchase agreement, or employment contract. The terms of the contract may also  usually specify the number of arbitrators, the rules and procedures that will apply to the  arbitration, and the circumstances, if any, under which the parties may opt out of arbitration.

There are many benefits to arbitration that include; time efficiency, decisions are commonly  rendered much more timely than through the courts, flexibility in the structure of the presentation  of evidence, selection of the arbitrator, and can provide for increased confidentiality.

Arbitration also comes with potential downfalls. The fee for the arbitrator is an added expenses to  the case (although some may argue that the timeliness of the decision combats this downfall).  Unless the parties are granted a de novo review, there is limited rights of review and appeal.

Contact Burnham Law today to discuss the mediation and arbitration services we offer to our  communities.