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What is ADR and how does it apply to divorce?

If you want to settle a dispute outside of court, you will probably use a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR.

Two common forms of ADR are arbitration and mediation, but negotiation is also an important aspect and one that may launch the process of divorce mediation.

Why people choose ADR

Arbitration is commonly a business dispute resolution option; for example in construction, labor or securities regulation disputes. It involves hearings held by an arbitration panel. In settling a dispute, the members of the panel deliberate, then issue a written decision on the matter at hand.

In divorce, however, couples looking for a more reasonable approach to ending their marriage often choose negotiation and mediation over litigation. You and your spouse would rely on a mediator, a neutral third party trained in negotiation who works with the two of you to resolve differences and arrive at an agreement that you can both accept.

Main points of mediation

Divorcing couples who can still work with one another consider mediation over litigation initially because it will save them thousands of dollars in legal fees. It is typically also a faster process than a court proceeding. Furthermore, studies show that mediation is much less stressful for the children of the marriage. In fact, a Texas judge will normally order divorce mediation when the couple has minor children.

Benefits for the future

Despite the fact that you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you are still parents responsible for raising your children. This will involve ongoing communication and a certain amount of teamwork. Even after the children are grown and out on their own, there may be occasions for you and your children to come together as a family, such as a college graduation, a wedding or the birth of a child.

Putting the appropriate forms of ADR in place as the means of divorce can start the future off in a spirit of cooperation that you and your children will appreciate as the years go on.

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