Arbitration is a process of adjudicating a case without actually having a trial in Family Court. Arbitration is usually a less formal process than trial, and is often binding on the parties. An arbitrator needs to be Certified Family Court Mediator and Arbitrator. Unlike the mediator, the arbitrator acts like a judge, making final decisions in the case. There are advantages and disadvantages to arbitration. Advantages include:
• Arbitration can be scheduled whenever it is convenient. The parties do not have to wait to get court time.
• Arbitration is often less formal than trial, and often takes far less time.
• Arbitrated decisions are usually not appealable.
• You can choose your arbitrator.
• The parties have to pay for the arbitrator when they would not have to pay a judge.
• The arbitrator’s decision is usually final, meaning that the parties lose their right to appeal the arbitrator’s decision.
Natalie Parker Bluestein is 2014 President of the Charleston County Bar Association