If you live in Los Angeles and are thinking about getting a divorce, you may not know that there are a few different ways to navigate the divorce process. While you will always have the right and option of using the California family law court system, there are alternative options that can (a) provide more control and (b) be less expensive.

Arbitration can be a great choice if you want to avoid a costly legal battle in front of a judge while also keeping the details of your split private.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a popular alternative dispute resolution method. Instead of going before a judge and litigating your divorce in a formal court hearing, you and your spouse agree to resolve the details of your divorce in a private hearing.

An arbitration hearing often mirrors what you would expect to find in court: both sides present their arguments, offer evidence and testimony, and make their case in front of a neutral third party.

Instead of a sitting judge, however, the hearing is held in front of an arbitrator. This neutral third party is generally a former judge or retired attorney who is very familiar with California family law and procedure.

Why Choose Arbitration to Resolve a Divorce?

Getting divorced can be complicated. The process essentially requires splitting one family unit into two separate and distinct family units. Decisions about property division, child custody, child support, and alimony must all be made before a divorce can be finalized. Many times, divorcing spouses will have very different opinions about how the terms of a divorce should unfold.

If spouses cannot agree, a judge will stop in and, after evaluating all relevant evidence and testimony, make a unilateral decision for the couple. Going to court can be unnerving for spouses who like to maintain control over their own lives and futures. Choosing arbitration can allow spouses to maintain more control over the terms of their divorce.

While the arbitrator has the authority to make unilateral and binding decisions, the spouses have the ability to control who that third party arbitrator is. Additionally, spouses can set certain ground rules that help to influence how the divorce will be resolved. Going to court does not allow this kind of flexibility.

Benefits of Arbitration

Arbitration is a very popular alternative dispute resolution tool. Why? It may be due to the fact that arbitration has many benefits that going to court does not.

Privacy and Confidentiality: Arbitration hearings are private. All parties involved sign non-disclosure agreements and agree to keep the details of the proceeding and agreement under wraps.

This can be particularly helpful if spouses are famous, anticipate complex property division, or simply want to keep the matter to themselves. Divorces litigated in court are a matter of public record. Divorces finalized in arbitration are not.

Less Stressful for Kids: If you have children who will be affected by the divorce, you may not want to put them through the stress and trauma of a public hearing. Keeping the divorce private can help to protect your kids and make the process as painless as possible.

Cost Efficient: Going to court can be expensive. Attorney fees, court costs, filing fees, and other costs can add up over time. Committing to resolve your divorce more swiftly through arbitration can help to reduce the financial impact of your split.

Get Help Navigating Your Los Angeles Divorce

Do you want to keep the results and details of your divorce private? Are you interested in saving money and protecting your kids? Arbitration may be an excellent way to finalize your divorce, especially if you and your spouse cannot see eye-to-eye on the terms of your split.

Putting your divorce in the hands of a trusted and respected neutral third party can help to ease tensions. However, it is important for both you and your spouse to fully commit to the arbitration process. If you are not on the same page, it will not be effective.

You can learn more about arbitration and divorce by contacting an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney. At Fernandez & Karney, our Certified Family Law specialists have over 50 years of combined legal experience. We know that getting a divorce can be a very stressful time in your life. We are prepared to help you navigate the legal divorce process and get the results you want. Call us today to request a free consultation and learn more.