Another form of alternative dispute resolution is arbitration. Arbitration is not widely used in family law cases, but it is an option in some states.
In arbitration, the parties agree to submit their dispute to a third party (other than a judge) for a binding decision. The arbitrator often is an attorney or a retired judge who is usually able to hear the case in a more expedited manner than a court would hear the case. Arbitration may be expedited in two respects. First, the arbitrator may be able to hold a hearing in the case sooner than a trial judge, particularly if the trial judge has a calendar crowded with many cases. Second, arbitrations may take fewer days than a trial since arbitration procedures often are more informal than trials and the attorneys proceed more quickly. If the arbitration proceeds more quickly than a trial would proceed, arbitration will save time and costs.