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What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a method of alternative dispute resolution in which a third-party, the arbitrator, is granted the ability to make final and legally binding decisions relating to issues within the dissolution of a marriage or common law relationship. Arbitration generally deals with the issues of child custody and access, division of property and equalizing payments, and child and/or spousal support. The issue of a final divorce order is the only matter which cannot be arbitrated. As Arbitrators cannot grant a divorce or annul a marriage, they also cannot change official family status.

If arbitration is the method agreed upon by each spouse, the spouses would then draft and sign an arbitration agreement outlining the conditions surrounding the arbitration, including who will arbitrate, where and when the arbitration will take place, and the issues which will be arbitrated, as well as it outlines that the spouses waive their rights to go to court. The arbitration agreement ensures that any and all issues, no matter how insignificant they may seem, are outlined and may be arbitrated, in order to avoid future disputes. As arbitrators are legally only permitted to make decisions on the issues included within the agreement, any issues which were not outlined in the agreement and were arbitrated will be disregarded. Arbitration is a legally binding and efficient solution for dealing with the issues arising from the breakdown of a marriage.

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