What is binding arbitration in divorce? In most divorce cases, parties are going to become involved in a very lengthy time-consuming process in front of a judge. It's also a process that, by all accounts, is very stressful. Most people have never gone to court, never been in the courtroom setting.
Most people have never gone to court, never been in the courtroom setting, never had to sit in the witness box and answer questions from lawyers, and never have to answer questions from a judge.
All of that experience, research has shown, is extremely stressful on parents or litigants, parties to a divorce or custody case. Arbitration is a process that takes the divorce case or child custody case out of the hands of the judge and places it in the hands of a qualified arbiter.
Many times, a qualified arbiter is someone who has extensive experience with the family law arena, and those kinds of cases. They could be retired judges, lawyers who have many years of conducting mediations. And what you're going to see is that, instead of the stressful environment of being in a courtroom, having to go to one hearing after another hearing, or waiting for extremely long periods of time to have your case finalized, lawyers and their clients can appear in front of an arbiter in a stress-free environment, in a conference room or in a lawyer's office, and have the arbiter listen to what both parties want, listen to what their lawyers are arguing on their behalf, talk to experts like forensic accountants.
And the arbiter would then have the authority to make a ruling when the parties are unable to agree, just the same as a judge. And what you would end up with would be an arbiter's ruling instead of a court order from a judge.
I have found, in my practice, that arbitration is an extremely worthwhile type of process. It does, in the end, save the parties a lot of time and money. When they can't get quick access to a judge, parties may be able to agree that certain kinds of people have experience in doing arbitrations, and that this is a worthwhile thing to explore with your lawyer.