The Success and Failure of Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods

Since I first talked about alternative dispute resolution (ADR), more and more couples have chosen to resolve their differences and dissolve their marriages through mediation and the collaborative divorce process. Our firm provides mediation services to couples and helps those clients achieve outstanding results. Is ADR the best route to divorce?

The answer is yes and no. The benefits of ADR are clear:

  • Savings in time, energy and money
  • Ability to craft unique agreements and arrangements to suit you and your family
  • Negotiated agreements are more satisfying and more likely to be upheld by both parties
  • Successful mediation helps salvage relationships and provides couples a method for conflict resolution in the future

Despite the advantages of ADR, these techniques do not work for all couples. While negotiation between legal counsel can work in simple and high conflict divorce settings, mediation and collaborative divorce may not be possible for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Power sharing: Disparities in income or relative power in the relationship can leave one partner at a disadvantage. Strong legal counsel can assist a marginalized spouse understand his or her rights and opportunities.
  • Acrimony: Even if only one spouse is bitter, the acrimony flowing from false accusations and drawn out battles makes mediation and the collaboration divorce process a poor choice.
  • Failure: High conflict couples who choose ADR may find they added six or more months and thousands of dollars in legal fees to their overall divorce process. If a couple falls out of the collaborative divorce process, information provided and exchanged cannot usually be used in civil litigation and new legal counsel must be retained. Litigation commenced at this point is often instantly polarizing.

ADR is a good idea — except when it is not. Speak with Bryan L. Salamone and Associates, P.C., when considering traditional or alternative divorce methods. We provide informed, experienced legal representation.

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