In my blog last week I discussed the process of mediation. What happens if mediation doesn’t work?
If the parties cannot come to an agreement on the issues during mediation, the mediator can become the arbitrator for the parties if they agree to such an arrangement. In such cases, the arbitrator is authorized by the parties to make final decisions on all matters and issues presented to him or her by the parties. In other words, the arbitrator is simply given the authority to make the final decisions by the parties if they cannot agree on some of the issues similar to a judge.
By using an arbitrator or private judge for these type of disputes, you have much more freedom to ensure that you have adequate time to present your case – courts here in Maricopa County will usually limit you to one-half day or 3 hours to put on a Trial, in which you will only receive half of that time for your portion of the case. Often, an hour and a half will not suffice to fully present your positions on child custody, parenting time, spousal maintenance, property disputes or other more time-consuming and complex issues. An arbitrator, as someone retained by the parties, will give you all the time needed within reason. By this same token, although it may take longer, oftentimes it ends up more cost effective in the end than a trial would and parties more satisfied with the results as they feel that they have been able to fully present their positions on those issues and had more control of the process.
How do you find or select an arbitrator? There are several attorneys in the valley that provide mediation and arbitration services. Some arbitrators are retired former Superior Court Judges. You should, of course, always carefully check the backgrounds and experience of anybody you are considering to mediate or arbitrate for you.
If you would like to find out more about the mediation or arbitration process, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.