Why don’t more divorce couples use arbitration in divorce in Ohio?
Contrary to what some people believe, including many divorce lawyers, arbitration is available as an option to resolve many issues for Ohio families experiencing divorce.
In arbitration, a single arbitrator, or a panel of arbitrators will conduct a hearing, and take evidence from the parties and make a decision regarding the issues in controversy between the parties. The arbitrator makes a decision, which is like a court order.
The parties can elect that their arbitration be binding, or they can decide that the decision of the arbitrator is non-binding (either party could elect to continue to litigate the matter in court).
For many people, arbitration affords a much quicker resolution of matters than going back to court for pretrial after pretrial, followed by a trial before the judge or magistrate, followed by a lengthy period of time waiting for a decision from an overburdened court, followed by objections, followed by an appeal.
There are definite benefits to binding arbitration in divorce cases:
- Finality. Issues are resolved.
- Expediency. Matters can be scheduled quickly before an arbitrator, rather than waiting, for example, the nine months that the Ohio Supreme Court tells the county divorce courts certain post-divorce cases should take.
- Privacy. Arbitrations are typically conducted in an attorney’s office, rather than in a court room open to the public.
- Arbitrations usually only cost a fraction of what a contested hearing costs in court.
- Formality. The rules of evidence may be relaxed by agreement of counsel, which could expedite the process even more.
- Closure. The parties have “their day in court” and in the case of arbitration, they get it sooner, and typically with a lot less time, expense and aggravation.
Is arbitration available for all issues that arise in divorce? No. Currently, arbitration is not an option for granting or modifying custody (the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities) in Ohio.
However, there are a great many issues in divorce, for which arbitration is an ideal process option. For example, we have successfully arbitrated issues involving unreimbursed, uninsured medical and dental expenses; extracurricular activity expenses; childcare costs; other childhood expenses; and, child support modifications.
The parties who choose to arbitrate large and small issues, instead of going back to court to resolve issues, maintain much more control over their divorce process, and ultimately their lives.
If you have unresolved issues related to your divorce and you wish to consider using arbitration to settle your dispute with your spouse or former spouse, contact us, or have your attorney contact us to see if arbitration may be a good fit for you and your family.