Can Alternative Dispute Resolution Resolve Custody Issues?

As a parent going through a divorce, it can be hard to handle issues with your spouse. On one hand, you understand that they are upset or frustrated, but on the other, you know that you both need to work together to resolve your divorce-related issues and move forward.

Alternative dispute resolution may help you do this. If you have a child custody concern that you and your spouse are arguing over with no resolution in sight, the better option may be to consider ADR.

The history of alternative dispute resolution

Since the 1970s, alternative dispute resolution has been used to help catch up on court backlogs and to resolve issues before they need to go to trial. In 1985, the Attorney General put out an order that recognized that ADR would reduce the expense and time associated with civil litigation.

ADR doesn’t just refer to one kind of dispute resolution measure. ADR includes a variety of approaches such as:

  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Mini-trials
  • Negotiating
  • Early Neutral Evaluation

The main three types used today are negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. These are used in family law often, but they may also be used in other areas of law, as well.

How does alternative dispute resolution help you?

With alternative dispute resolution, you are in a better position to avoid a trial and the costs associated with one. Alternative dispute resolution in the form of mediation gives you and your spouse a chance to talk through custody issues together with a third-party mediator present. ADR in the form of arbitration is like a mini, relaxed trial where an arbitrator settles the issue.

With negotiating, your attorneys may communicate back and forth, or you may negotiate across a table with your spouse directly and have your attorney stand by to help with how the law may apply to your case.

In any circumstance, it is typically more cost-effective and time effective to go through ADR rather than to litigate your case. While there are times when litigation is appropriate, using ADR could be a better alternative for those willing to try to work together to resolve an issue.