Arbitration for Divorce in Marietta

Couples divorcing in Cobb County have the option to try alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to settle their disagreements. Arbitration and mediation are the common forms of ADR available for family law matters. ADR is usually faster and less expensive than taking a divorce to trial, and using ADR relieves pressure on the courts.

Although mediation works well for many couples, it is not appropriate or effective for everyone. Arbitration for divorce in Marietta might be an attractive alternative when mediation has failed or the couple is not a candidate for mediation. Contact a divorce attorney at our firm to discuss your ADR options and find out whether arbitration could be right for you.

When Arbitration May Be the Right Choice

Judges in the Cobb County courts routinely send couples who cannot settle their divorce to mediation before scheduling a trial. However, mediation is not right for all couples. When there is a distinct power imbalance between the parties or domestic violence has been an issue, mediation may not be safe or effective. When one spouse has narcissistic tendencies, mediation often fails.

Arbitration can work well for couples in high-conflict divorces who cannot communicate constructively and are unable to compromise. Arbitration in Marietta allows each side’s attorney to present their evidence and arguments to a neutral third party, the arbitrator. The arbitrator then applies legal principles to the evidence and makes a binding decision that a judge incorporates into the divorce decree.

Arbitration avoids the delays and expense of a trial and unlike a trial, it is private and confidential. The couple must agree to submit their disputes to an arbitrator and abide by the arbitrator’s decision. Their attorneys must create an arbitration agreement that describes the disputes they will submit and sets rules for the exchange of information and other procedural matters.

How the Arbitration Process Works

The Official Code of Georgia §19-9-1.1 describes divorce arbitration in the state. The law allows couples to submit any issue in dispute to an arbitrator, including child custody matters. Spouses in Marietta should work closely with their family law attorneys to decide which issues they want the arbitrator to decide.

Selecting an arbitrator is the first step. Arbitrators are often retired judges, but some are family lawyers who devote all or part of their practice to serving as arbitrators. The spouses’ attorneys typically mutually agree on an arbitrator and agree to split the arbitrator’s fee. The couple then must both sign the arbitration agreement and commit to accepting the arbitrator’s decision.

An arbitration is similar to a trial but less formal. It often happens in the arbitrator’s office or a conference room at the courthouse. Depending on the complexity of the issues and the number of issues in dispute, an arbitration could take a few hours or might require multiple sessions scheduled over several weeks.

The Arbitrator’s Decision Is Final

When spouses select arbitration they agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. When a spouse is unhappy with the outcome they have limited opportunity to challenge it.

When one of our Marietta family attorneys believes the arbitrator made a clear error of law, they may ask the arbitrator to review and reconsider. However, this is a rare occurrence. In almost every case, an unhappy spouse’s only recourse is to accept the decision and apply to modify the order at a later date. Property division orders are not modifiable.

The Cobb County Superior Court judge overseeing the divorce will issue the arbitrator’s decision as a court order with the divorce decree. When the arbitrator decides child custody matters, the judge can independently review them to confirm they support the children’s best interests.

Ask Our Marietta Family Attorneys About Divorce Arbitration

Taking a divorce to trial is the most expensive, time-consuming, and stressful way to handle the dissolution of your marriage. Arbitration is a reasonable alternative in many cases.

The legal team at the Atlanta Divorce Law Group has the necessary experience and skills to handle arbitration for divorce in Marietta. Get started by reaching out today.

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