Binding arbitration is somewhat similar to mediation in that your case is heard not by a judge but by a mutually agreeable attorney. As the name implies, binding arbitration is just that- binding. Unlike a trial, where there are numerous legal remedies to appeal an unfavorable decision to a higher court, the right to appeal an arbitrator’s decision is much more limited. The parties are required to pay the arbitrator at his or her hourly rate, and if custody is to be decided, a record of the proceeding must be made by a tape recording or court reporter. The parties and their attorneys present their case in front of the arbitrator, and the arbitrator makes a final decision (award). The arbitration award is entered by the Court in the form of a Judgment of Divorce.
Arbitration is not always appropriate and the court must consent to the parties attending binding arbitration. In cases of domestic violence, arbitration may not be appropriate.
Benefits of arbitration include its finality (awards are more difficult to successfully appeal), confidentiality (your case typically will be heard in a private conference room and not a public court room), flexibility (the parties can agree to simplify what can otherwise be the costly and time consuming introduction of evidence), you can modify the scope of the arbitrator’s powers (something that cannot be done with a judge), and the parties can pick who will decide their case, instead of going before the judge randomly assigned to their case.
To schedule a consultation with a Metro Detroit divorce lawyer to discuss your family law needs, contact us today. Our law office is conveniently located in Plymouth, Michigan.