Despite your best efforts, you and your partner have decided that divorce is the best option. However, you also intend to remain on good terms as you move on with your lives. Alternative dispute resolution may provide the framework you need to resolve potentially contentious issues without destroying your working relationship.
What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution? What’s the Goal?
The term ‘alternative dispute resolution’ refers to a variety of methods employed to avoid courtroom-based legal proceedings. In family law, ADR typically involves mediation or collaborative divorce. By employing mediation or collaboration, couples hope to keep their divorces as quick, affordable, and amicable as possible.
Although not a viable solution for all couples, ADR often allows divorcing spouses to avoid much of the stress and expense associated with a stereotypical courtroom divorce. Often, divorcing couples pursue ADR in hopes of maintaining amicable relationships as they move from romance to co-parenting. They hope to shield their children from the worst aspects of litigation, which can be incredibly stressful for the children of divorce.
Some spouses, although unable to resolve all issues through ADR, utilize this approach early in the divorce process to settle issues in which they share common ground. The remainder of the divorce can then be completed via litigation.
As mentioned above, two popular approaches to ADR in Minnesota are mediation and collaboration. In mediation, spouses work together (with guidance from a neutral third party) to secure mutually-beneficial outcomes to common divorce issues such as custody and property division. Mediation is, by definition, a non-adversarial approach.
Collaboration offers a valuable middle ground between litigation and mediation. In collaborative divorce, each spouse works closely with an attorney, but remains open to cooperation on many matters. Couples may be advised by a panel of experts, with extensive knowledge regarding financial matters and childcare concerns.
Although typically not employed for family issues, arbitration is also an ADR option in Minnesota. With arbitration, disputes are settled via third party professionals. A hybrid process known as mediation-arbitration allows for temporary mediation, with an arbitrator arriving at the final decision if an impasse between spouses occurs.
Interested in pursuing ADR in Minnesota? The right lawyer can successfully guide you through this challenging process. Seek counsel from the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.