Family Law Arbitration
Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that is specific to financial disputes. Although it is an alternative to Court, arbitration is very similar except that it is in a private hearing setting and there is no Judge. Instead, both parties agree to an independent Arbitrator of their choice.
Both parties attend the hearing with their lawyer and barrister who present arguments and evidence to the independent Arbitrator. Once the process is complete, the Arbitrator gives a written judgment about the terms of the financial settlement within 28 days of the hearing. This judgment is known as an ‘award’ and is final and enforceable and registered with the Court.
Benefits of Family Law Arbitration
Arbitration is the preferred method of dispute resolution for parties who wish to ensure privacy. Both parties sign a contractual document to preserve confidentiality before commencing.
In some instances, arbitration is a faster avenue than the Court process. The least complex of property disputes may be possible within a timeframe as short as 8 weeks from the first meeting, if all parties are available and all documents and evidence can be collated. However that timeframe is not typical of more complex financial disputes.
The arbitration process focuses solely on determining a financial settlement between the separated parties. Unlike the Court process that can draw in other legal issues into the family law matter, this does not occur in arbitration.
Once our Arbitrators have been engaged, we meet with both parties and their lawyers for an Arbitration Planning Meeting. In that meeting we discuss matters pertaining to the arbitration. This includes questions relating to, but not limited to:
- The venue for the arbitration hearing (to be decided by both parties)
- The recording and transcription service that will be used (to be decided by both parties)
- The names of any witnesses that will provide evidence
- The timeline for the preparation of documents and evidence
- The agreed date for the arbitration (if already determined between the parties)
Once your Arbitrator has the information required, a suite of directions are sent that require both parties to have the matter ready for arbitration within the timeline set. These directions are binding on both parties. Upon first contact with our support team, you will be advised of all practicalities required in preparation for both the Arbitration Planning Meeting, and the arbitration itself.
Where Is The Arbitration Hearing?
Typically a private hearing room is hired and the proceedings are recorded and transcribed. Arbitrations are sometimes conducted within the offices of one of the family lawyers in a boardroom that can accommodate all who need to be in attendance.
How Long Is Arbitration?
An arbitration may first be used to determine interim financial arrangements for the parties. That is, until such time as the parties can collate the necessary information for a final arbitration hearing.
An arbitration hearing may be brief and completed within a few hours, or be conducted as a half day hearing or full day hearing. Where there are factual legal or valuation disputes, it may require multiple days of hearings.
Choosing An Arbitrator
People choose Arbitrators so the process will be fair, reasonable and respectful of them, the process and their financial dispute. Our Arbitrators are highly sought after, particularly for their broad understanding of financial affairs through companies and trusts.
Each of our Arbitrators brings experience, intellect and attention to detail. To enquire about our Arbitrators, their availability and fees, reach out to our team via the contact details below.
Choosing A Family Law Arbitrator