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The Gosselin Divorce: Is Arbitration Good For You?

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 29, 2009 5:50 AM

As we recently discussed, the much watched Jon & Kate divorce saga ended after use of a divorce arbitrator.

While their story was a sad one, it opens a question for many couple seeking to split:

Is arbitration right for you?

In arbitration, the parties of a divorce agree to submit their dispute to a third party (other than a judge) for a binding decision. The arbitrator often is an attorney or a retired judge who is usually able to hear the case in a more expedited manner than a court would hear the case.

Why Use Arbitration?

It Saves Time

It is a method of alternative dispute resolution that is used by couples who want to divorce quickly. It is typically easier to have an arbiter hold a hearing versus a trial judge. Arbitrations may take fewer days than a trial since arbitration procedures often are more informal than trials and the attorneys proceed more quickly.

It Can Save Money

If the arbitration proceeds more quickly than a trial would proceed, arbitration will save time and costs. Costs of arbitration vary, but are usually similar to attorneys' hourly rates.

When Can You Use Arbitration?

Courts will hold an arbiter's ruling on issues of property and alimony but courts are not likely to approve of arbitration of custody and child support. Courts take a stance of protecting the welfare of children and typically like to decide on those issues.

For more information about alternative dispute resolution and divorce, please visit our Related Resources section.

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