When a case goes to trial, the courtroom is open to the public, and the documents that have been filed can be available to the whole world. In most family law cases, this means that details about your finances are accessible by anyone. You can avoid that by using Alternative Dispute Resolution – or ADR. Indiana’s ADR Rules authorize the use of mediation and arbitration in family law, guardianship, and estate cases.
Mediation is an informal process where a neutral person, called a mediator, helps you find acceptable solutions to your differences. The Mediator can meet with everybody together in the same room, or the mediator may shuttle back and forth between the parties. The Mediator does not decide who is right or how the case should be resolved – in mediation, only the parties can do that. In some courts, the judges require mediation before a case can go to trial.
Arbitration uses private hearings to settle disputes. The parties select a neutral party to serve as Arbitrator. They agree in advance on the scope of the Arbitrator’s authority. Arbitration is more flexible and less formal than court. It’s usually faster, too. Pre-trial information gathering may be short-cut, and rules on the admissibility of evidence may be relaxed. Each side presents its case to the arbitrator. The arbitrator decides who wins and who loses on each point of contention. The arbitrator’s decision is usually final, and courts rarely re-examine the ruling.
How We Help
As experienced ADR Professionals, our attorneys can get to the core of your dispute. We always look out for the best interests of any children. In mediation, we help you find areas of agreement and develop creative solutions to your problems. In arbitration, we listen to your evidence, consider your attorney’s arguments, and render a clear decision, so you can move on with your life. When we serve as your attorney, we determine what form of ADR is in your best interests and guide you through the process. In mediation, we help you negotiate a settlement that is consistent with your values. In arbitration, we present your case clearly, so the arbitrator can see the facts from your perspective.