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Richard G. Whiting is a certified Family Court Mediator and an experienced Arbitrator. A protracted Family Court case is both emotionally and financially draining. Additionally, there may be facts relevant to your case that for various reasons may not be admissible as evidence at your trial but may be considered during Arbitration or Mediation. There are alternatives to a public courtroom and putting your case before a Family Court judge who may receive only limited information about your situation.

Mediation and Arbitration are viable alternatives to a public trial.

Mediation is a process where the parties, along with their attorneys, meet with a Mediator or someone sometimes called a “Neutral”. The Mediator’s job is not to tell either party what to do but rather to help the parties come to an agreement. Mediation is confidential in that if mediation fails to resolve your case, then what occurs at mediation cannot be later used at trial. However, if an agreement is reached at mediation, then the agreement will be presented to the Family Court for approval. Upon the Court’s approval, you now have an enforceable Family Court Order.

It is also possible for parties to mediate their issues even before a Family Court case is filed. The parties meet with a Mediator first to hopefully resolve all the issues between them and then reach an agreement. If successful, you now have an enforceable agreement that will then be presented to the Family Court in order to incorporate it into a Family Court Order.

Arbitration is very different from Mediation. In Arbitration, an Arbitrator decides the issues between the parties. Again, a Mediator would not make any decision for the parties and could not order the parties to do anything. However, an Arbitrator after considering both parties' positions, makes the decisions to resolve the issues and submits his Award for confirmation by the Court. The Arbitration Award is confirmed by the Family Court and is enforceable to the same extent that a Family Court Order is enforceable or that a Mediation Agreement is enforceable.

Mediation and Arbitration can be less formal and therefore less stressful than a public courtroom proceeding. Mediation and Arbitration take place behind closed doors. The rules for Arbitration can be determined and adjusted by agreement of the parties which may include the admissibility of certain evidence that would not be allowed in a public trial.