When people in a dispute cannot resolve the dispute themselves, either through face-to- face negotiation or with the assistance of a mediator, they can agree to refer the matter to arbitration. In arbitration, a neutral person hears the facts and issues and makes a decision. Arbitrators are often people who are experts in a specific area of the law or a particular industry, especially in cases where the decision-maker needs to be knowledgeable about a particular subject matter in Family law.
The arbitrator is usually chosen by the parties together. If they cannot agree they can have an acceptable person or organization choose the arbitrator for them. Otherwise, each can choose an arbitrator, and the two arbitrators will then choose a third to make a panel of three. In some instances parties may prefer to have their matter heard before a panel.
Arbitration tends to be less formal and quicker than going to court. The parties can agree in advance on the ground rules for the arbitration (as opposed to court procedures which are fixed). One or both parties may have a representative speak for them at the arbitration hearing or they may speak for themselves.
The arbitrator then makes a decision based on the facts, any contract between the people, and the applicable laws. The arbitrator will explain how the decision was reached. If the applicable law allows, you can decide yourself in advance whether the arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding or whether it should be subject to review by a court if a party disagrees with the decision.
The arbitrator may also make a decision on costs. Depending on how complex the case is and how long it takes to resolve, arbitration usually costs less than going to trial.