ADR includes arbitration as well as mediation.
M & R takes many of our cases to mediation. In any event, the family court requires that mediation occur before the court will give a divorce trial date, so it makes sense to start earlier before more time and money is spent on litigation. The process involves the selection of the mediator, preparing all of the information needed by both sides to settle the case, and then typically multiple mediation sessions. The mediation sessions very rarely involve both parties in the same location. Parties may be reluctant to mediation since it's often difficult to envision the other side agreeing with anything they want, but the process allows for each side's interests to carved out in a way that the court cannot do. Mediation is convenient because it can be set around everyone's schedule. It is non-binding and it is confidential, so that offers you make in mediation can't be used against you in court, and if you cannot live with the final proposed settlement, you can opt for court proceedings.
M & R attorneys also serve as mediators. We offer a different hourly rate for this service. We also have a flat rate for a half day of mediation.
Arbitration is unlike mediation in that it is binding. Both sides agree on an arbitrator, and the arbitrator essentially acts as a private judge. The benefits come from the ability to choose your fact-finder, the relaxed procedure, not being bound by the court's schedule for available times and dates, or by the court's very limited trial calendar. We favor arbitration and encourage more parties to investigate this avenue.