Obtain a Better Divorce with Alternative Dispute Resolution
Divorces, even amicable ones, are rarely a single, mutually agreed-upon transaction. Division of assets, custody arrangements, financial recompense, and alimony are among the factors that a couple must come to terms with when ending their marriage. While there may be cases where resorting to litigation in court may be the only way to resolve a divorce, many couples should consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation or arbitration, for their divorce agreement.
Mediation and arbitration services offer less contentious forms of dispute resolution than the more combative court proceedings, which means that ADR can create a sense of cooperation that may endure as the couple may have to maintain some interaction after they split, as well as other benefits discussed below.
Is Alternative Dispute Resolution used in divorce?
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provides parties at odds with options to settle disputes other than court litigation. ADR proceedings usually involve a neutral third party who, depending on the ADR method, oversees or assists with the parties coming to an agreement or settlement. The third party is also often an expert in the matter at hand as well as an experienced mediator or negotiator. In relation to divorce ADR, the mediator or negotiator may be an experienced divorce lawyer or may have comprehensive experience with family law or financial planning.
As ADR is more of mutual negotiation, compared to the adversarial structure of a court proceeding, couples who are willing to engage in open discussions may be more encouraged to maintain a civil relationship. Furthermore, as ADR proceedings can be much shorter than litigation, couples can resolve disputes comparatively quickly and affordably so that both sides can move on.
For example, a couple may be at odds regarding custody arrangements, but otherwise, they are on cordial terms. A court proceeding may deepen antagonistic feelings, as one side “wins” and the other “loses”, especially if the case becomes long-drawn and expensive, eating into their finances. If this happens, the couple may harbor ill will towards each other, creating a negative relationship that may affect their relationships with their children. With ADR, a mediator or arbitrator can help that same couple discuss and work through issues, arriving at a compromise that sustains their relationship without adversely impacting their children.
Why is ADR better for divorce?
In general, the benefits of ADR in a divorce are noteworthy. As mentioned above, ADR is usually much more affordable and faster than litigation. With litigation, the couple must follow a formal process of setting court dates, filing papers, presenting evidence or testimony, and so forth. This can take some time, and the parties have little choice as they must follow court rules. Furthermore, the judge’s decision is usually final. That is, with litigation, the couple concedes their control to the court and the judge.
Another benefit that litigation does not offer, to its disadvantage, is that ADR is a private proceeding. Court cases are usually for the public record, and if one or both spouses have issues, assets, or other evidence they would prefer to keep confidential, they may not be able to achieve confidentiality in a litigated divorce. ADR proceedings, however, are private and confidential so that any matter discussed during mediation or arbitration cannot be disclosed to uninvolved parties.
In mediation, couples have almost complete control over the process. That is, mediators are there to facilitate discussions, but they cannot make any decisions or determinations. Mediators assist the couples in their discussions as they work towards a settlement that suits both parties.
Arbitration is a form of ADR that is more like litigation, but couples still have more control over the proceedings. They appoint the arbitrator(s), and they decide what the arbitrators should consider. For example, a couple may agree on child custody but not on alimony and child support. They would then present evidence and/or testimony for the arbitrators to decide on alimony and child support arrangements, which then becomes legally binding.
Which one is suitable for divorce couples?
ADR is ideal for couples who are willing to discuss their issues openly to come to an agreement. Then, with the help of a skilled arbitrator or mediator, both sides can use their ADR proceedings to settle their divorce quickly, at their convenience, and without spending a lot of money, even if there is some contention regarding certain facets of the divorce.
However, if the divorce is one-sided (i.e., one spouse does not want to be divorced), if there is a history of violence or irreconcilable differences, or if one spouse suspects the other of hiding assets, litigation may be the preferred option. That being said, even these couples may want to attempt ADR first to see if they can open lines of communication. At best, they may be able to resolve their issues and settle their divorce through mediation or communication. Otherwise, they may have a better idea of their situation if they do end up in court.
THAC offers ADR for divorcing couples
The Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC) can assist couples seeking to divorce through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). We offer international-level mediation and arbitration in Thailand, with facilities equipped with the latest technology. In addition, couples can access experts in family and divorce law who are also skilled mediators or arbitrators to suit their ADR needs. Along with a vast directory of experts, THAC provides comprehensive business and administrative services to support every ADR proceeding. Located in central Bangkok by the Phrom Phong BTS Skytrain station as well as Sukhumvit Road and other thoroughfares, parties can reach THAC from most locations across the city as well as from Bangkok’s major international airports. For more information about our ADR services for personal and family disputes, such as divorce, contact THAC at firstname.lastname@example.org or +66 (0)2018 1615.