Mediation/Arbitration In Ohio Courts
The Supreme Court of Ohio’s statistics shows that approximately 85-90% of all cases seeking to end a marriage wind up being terminated upon the mutual agreement of the parties.
Alternative Dispute Resolution is an option available to parties that will minimize or substantially reduce the potential damage that a divorcing family may experience while it is involved in the process of restructuring its relationships and financial matters.
Some courts order spouses to attend Alternative Dispute Resolution to attempt to resolve their issues to avoid taking the case to trial. Different forms of ADR are available, including but not limited to:
- Early Neutral Evaluation
- Collaborative Family Law/ Collaborative Divorce
- Cooperative Family Law/ Cooperative Divorce
- Parenting Coordination
Arbitration is a method in which an arbitrator, third party neutral, will make a decision to resolve an issue between parties.
Arbitration is rarely used in domestic relations cases due to the restrictions imposed by an Ohio Supreme Court case, which states that “in a domestic relations case, matters of child custody and parental visitation are not subject to arbitration.” Kelm v. Kelm, 2001 Ohio 168, 92 Ohio St. 3d 223 (Ohio 2001).
How Can I Get Mediation For My Case In Ohio?
The Ohio Supreme Court has authorized mediation in divorce cases and parenting disputes.
“Mediation means any process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute.” R.C. §2710.01(A). Usually, mediation is the least expensive alternative dispute resolution option. Mediation can occur at the courthouse by an employee of the court or with private mediators.
This is a blend between Arbitration and Mediation in which an arbitrator will start by making a decision and seal it in an envelope. The arbitrator will attempt to resolve the issue through mediation. If the issue is not resolved by the parties, then the arbitrator’s sealed decision is binding upon the parties.
This is also a blend of Mediation and Arbitration but differs in that the first step is attempting to mediate the issue. If the issue cannot be resolved between the parties, then the case transitions into arbitration, where the issue is decided by the arbitrator.
Early Neutral Evaluation
This is an educational program that will provide the spouses in termination of marriage case information about the law and procedure involved in parenting plans, child and spousal support, marital and separate property. This ADR method does not resolve or decide issues between spouses, it is merely educational.
Collaborative Family Law – Collaborative Divorce
It is a non-adversarial approach to family restructuring in which both spouses are represented by specially trained family law attorneys. Negotiations occur in joint conferences with both parties and their attorneys present.
Cooperative Family Law – Cooperative Divorce
This process is similar to the collaborative method, it differs in that the same attorneys may continue to represent their clients in the event that the collaborative method fails.
After parents enter the final parenting plan into court, they may choose or allow the court to appoint a third party neutral as a “parenting coordinator” to assist the parents in resolving child-related disputes. This reduces or eliminates the need to file motions for the court to intervene in these matters. Ohio Supreme Court is considering whether to adopt this ADR method.
Arbitration And Mediation Attorneys
Whether the court has ordered you to attend some alternative dispute resolution method or you are interested in ways to avoid disputes with your spouse during the termination of marriage, our firm family law specialist can assist you in this matter. It is important to hire a lawyer to aid you through this process to achieve the best results.
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The attorneys in our law firm primarily service Portage County courts (Ravenna and Kent) from our office in Ravenna and Summit County courts (Akron, Stow, Barberton) from our office in Stow. Cases in all other courts in North East Ohio, such as Cuyahoga County courts, are handled under specific terms and conditions.