Mediation and arbitration are two forms of alternative dispute resolution. Arbitrations are most often held in child support or disputes that are more purely financial; the arbitrator hears both sides present their cases and then makes a decision. Arbitrations are a little less formal than trials, because they happen outside of the courtroom, but you still have a neutral person making decisions for you.
Mediation is a process where all the parties (for example, the two parties to a divorce, or all the beneficiaries to a disputed estate) meet with the mediator to reach a mutually acceptable, legally enforceable agreement. Mediation is, essentially, facilitated negotiation. Parties to most family law actions are required under the court rules to engage in mediation before their case goes to trial, and even though most people go into mediation thinking their case will never settle, most of the time it does. Unlike trials, which are public proceedings in courtrooms, mediations are private, and instead of someone else making decisions for you, YOU control the results.
Elizabeth Turner is a trained, skilled mediator who practices facilitative, evaluative mediation. To schedule a mediation, contact our office; while most mediations are held Monday – Friday during normal business hours, Saturday sessions are available on a limited basis.