Arbitrators and “Med-Arb”
In family arbitration, the couple hires an independent third-party to act as the “private judge” for their dispute.
The couple decides on the process, such as how evidence will be provided and decisions made with the arbitrator, who must be qualified under the Family Law Act. The process can be personalized to fit the situation and the parties. The process is agreed to by the couple in writing. The arbitration is usually conducted like a court hearing, for example, the arbitrator listens to oral evidence, reviews documents, evaluates evidence and then makes a binding written decision.
- Med-arb is a hybrid process that combines mediation and arbitration. In other words, the couple tries to creating their own resolutions with the assistance of a mediator, but there is a guarantee of an end to the dispute by having an arbitrator decide if the parties are not be able to come to agreement.
- Before the start of a med-arb, the parties decide on a “trigger point” where they switch from mediation to arbitration. If and when they hit the trigger point, anything that is left unresolved will be decided by the med-arbitrator. Parties may agree on another trigger point to switch back to mediation.