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Mediation-Arbitration – a helpful hybrid

Mediation can be a very helpful process when a marriage breaks down. It is a process which allows people to reach solutions which they feel are best for them.


Sometimes, despite the best efforts of the parties and the mediator, it does not prove possible to agree all issues within the mediation process. There are times when some things can be agreed but others remain in dispute.


If there are things which are not agreed within mediation, the appropriate next steps need to be considered. This can sometimes be daunting for the people involved as many people believe that if matters do not reach a resolution within mediation, then the only alternative is to go to court. This is not the case and there are many options available in such circumstances.


One of those options is to refer the remaining issues to arbitration, a process which is becoming known as Mediation-Arbitration (or “Med-Arb”). If issues remain unresolved at the end of the mediation (or if you become stuck on a particular issue during the course of the mediation), those matters will be referred on to the arbitrator for him or her to decide.


Arbitration produces a binding and final award on those issues which the arbitrator is asked to determine. All of the things which have been agreed in mediation can be kept intact and the arbitrator will just deal with what is left. The decision of the arbitrator in relation to those outstanding points will be binding upon both of you.


Both mediation and arbitration are useful and effective processes in themselves. However, sometimes it is necessary to call upon more than one process in order to reach a solution on all of the very important issues which arise upon separation. In these circumstances, the use of mediation and arbitration can be invaluable in assisting people in reaching agreements and solutions.

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