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Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) provide shorter paths toward settlement than traditional litigation. With an ADR, parties can expect to reach a settlement within weeks instead of months or even years through court.

With so many possible settlement cases and multiple types of alternative dispute resolutions, it can be hard to know which is right for your family law situation.

To help clarify your options, we’ve broken down the two most common types of ADRs: mediation and arbitration.


Parties can choose to settle their dispute out of court and in an informal setting through a mediation process. Mediation requires a neutral third party who facilitates the meeting and helps guide the parties toward an agreeable decision. Although the mediator does not act as a judge, the settlement agreements are bound by legal contracts and the terms are enforceable.

What Cases Are Right for Mediation?

Most non-criminal cases lend themselves well to mediation, including cases related to:

  • Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Family conflict
  • Neighbor disputes

Nearly any situation that requires third party involvement but doesn’t require court involvement can be settled through mediation proceedings.


Similar to mediation, arbitration allows parties to present their case before a neutral third party, or the arbitrator. The difference is that the arbitrator will not guide anyone toward a decision but will decide the results of the case alone.

Think of arbitration as the middle option between mediation and trial. When the parties seeking a settlement choose this type of alternative dispute resolution, the arbitrator will:

  • Hear both sides of the issue
  • Analyze the evidence presented
  • Deliver a decision that’s legally binding

What Cases Are Best for Arbitration?

Many times, people will choose arbitration if they find themselves embroiled in a civil case involving money, damages, or family disputes. In most cases, a civil dispute that can be resolved in court can instead be resolved through arbitration.

If you’re embroiled in a dispute and need a team of family law experts on your side, let us counsel you on the best alternative dispute resolution for your case. Schedule a consultation with us today: 770-225-7000