Charlotte Divorce Mediation and Arbitration Attorneys
Assisting with alternative dispute resolution in North Carolina divorces
Mediation and arbitration are two ways of resolving conflicts during a divorce settlement without going to court. Often, a divorcing couple may turn to this type of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, to speed up the process, save money and reduce stress.
At Epperson Law Group, PLLC, our Charlotte family law attorneys can support you when you choose mediation or arbitration during your divorce. With decades of experience in family law and knowledge of local courts, we can guide you through the process with efficiency and success. Call us today.
What’s the difference between mediation and arbitration in Charlotte?
Both mediation and arbitration have their own pros and cons. Here’s a look at each.
In mediation, you and your spouse, or the parent of your child, will mutually negotiate the terms of your agreement with the guidance of a third party, neutral mediator. Most couples use mediation to resolve issues like spousal support, child support, property division and parenting plans. Typically, couples choose to go through voluntarily.
However, if you or the other parent is filing for child custody or visitation, you’re required to go through the North Carolina Child Custody and Visitation Mediation Program. In certain cases, the court may forgo mediation when “good cause” exists – including domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, and substance abuse. If you can’t find resolution through mediation, your case will move to court for a judge to decide.
During mediation, you and your spouse both have an opportunity to speak about your goals for the outcome. Your mediator’s job is to facilitate and keep the conversation focused. A mediator may not make decisions or take either person’s side. Then, once you and your ex have come to agreement about all of your issues, the mediator drafts an agreement for your Charlotte family law attorney to review. Once the document is mutually agreed upon, it goes to the court for final approval and formalization.
Mediation is a good choice for couples who want to avoid court and can work together to settle their disputes. Attorneys don’t attend mediation with you, but our Charlotte mediation attorneys work with you beforehand to ensure you are completely prepared and go in with your best foot forward.
Mediation may not be for everyone, but you and your spouse may still want to avoid the courtroom. In cases like these, arbitration may be a good solution. Family law arbitration in Charlotte follows the law laid out in the North Carolina Family Law Arbitration Act, G.S. Chapter 50-41. In arbitration, you and your spouse each present your side to a third party, neutral arbitrator.
Arbitration is much more similar to a trial than mediation. You can present evidence, witnesses and documentation supporting your side and desired out come, as can your spouse or the other parent. The arbitrator then makes a final decision and submits that to the court. Your arbitrator’s decision, much like a judge, is binding – it can only be appealed under specific circumstances.
What are the benefits of mediation or arbitration over litigation?
You may find several benefits to using alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration. These include:
- More control. Of course you’ll have to make compromises in any type of family law matter, but ADR gives you more influence over the outcome of the process. You and your spouse or co-parent can decide the terms of your divorce or parenting agreement together, with the help you need to make the process easier.
- Facilitation. Especially when children are involved, mediation allows increased facilitation and communication between the two parties.
- Time and cost. A trial is formal, intimidating and can result in endless delays and fees. Settling divorce agreements privately can be more time- and cost-effective for everyone.
- Privacy. Divorces are a matter of public record, but mediation and arbitration are confidential. Your negotiations and discussions are conducted in private and your reputation and family information remains out of the public eye.
- Security. Your ADR agreement is final, legal and enforceable in court. There may be certain circumstances where you can modify a mediation or arbitration agreement, but in general your agreement is final.
How can a Charlotte attorney help with alternative dispute resolution?
It’s true that arbitration and mediation aren’t as formal or strict as litigation. However, it’s still a smart idea to have an experienced divorce or family law attorney on your side. Your attorney can help you prepare for your sessions, collecting evidence, documentation or witnesses to support the goals you need to achieve during dispute resolution.
The lawyers at Epperson Law Group, PLLC have unique and extensive experience in ADR:
- Attorney James Epperson is a certified mediator in Superior Court, as well as an arbitrator
- Attorney Steve Ockerman is a Board-Certified Specialist in Family Law in North Carolina
Contact us today to talk about we can support you in any arbitration and mediation matters.
Are mediation and arbitration agreements enforceable?
As long as all parties sign your agreement, it’s enforceable. Typically, however, though, any judgments based on mediation or arbitration are entered as part of a divorce or child custody agreement, and filed with the court. In this way, they’re as enforceable as any other court order. In certain cases, you may be eligible to modify a Charlotte court order if your circumstances have significantly changed. Our attorneys can provide more details if you have questions.
Professional Charlotte divorce mediation and arbitration lawyers
Alternative dispute resolution can be a more efficient way to resolve differences and move on more quickly with divorce or child custody situations. If you think mediation or arbitration may be the right solution for you, talk to the knowledgeable family law attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC. We can help guide and prepare you for the process. You’ll find our offices right off Exit 57 from I-485. To reserve a consultation with one of our lawyers in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington, please call 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form.