Med-Arb: Another Unknown Option for Divorcing Folks

Med-Arb is the Prius of ADR.  It is a hybrid and full of promise, efficiencies, and good mojo.  More than that, it is a process that comes with a guarantee of a resolution – one way or the other – to a dispute.

In the divorce context, many couples have an idea of the range in which the terms of their divorce will land.  It’s the details of just  how much alimony will be paid and for just how long or what the percentage split of that IRA will be that often results in unsuccessful mediations.  Mediation, after all, requires an agreement and that requirement is precisely the reason behind most divorces!

Many divorcing couples are not aware that they can combine mediation and arbitration to create their own settlement agreement in divorce.  It’s called “Med-Arb.”

Here’s how Med-Arb typically works in the divorce context:  A couple mediates as many terms of their divorce as they can, and then, upon the mediator’s decision that impasse has been reached, the remaining terms are submitted to arbitration.  In some cases, the mediator changes his or her role to that of an arbitrator and “makes the call.”  In other contexts, the couple leaves the mediator and presents their cases to an arbitrator who “makes the call.”

Whether the mediators becomes the arbitrator or not, the result is the same:  the couple gets a complete resolution of the terms of  their divorce.

Teeing up an uncontested divorce does not have to be onerous.  However, most couples are unaware of ways to get to that point and are hamstringed by a lack of information.


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