What is Family Law Arbitration?
Arbitration is one pathway available to parties who are seeking to resolve financial family law disputes.
The process of arbitration can be undertaken in two ways. The parties may agree between them to appoint an independent accredited arbitrator. Alternatively, an arbitrator can be appointed through the family Court.
An arbitrator is usually a senior member of the legal profession. They are specifically trained and accredited in arbitration.
The decision of an arbitrator is binding (like a Court Order) and can be enforced.
In order to engage in the arbitration process, parties must effectively agree to waive rights that they may have under the Court litigation process pursuant to the Family Law Act. Because of this, the decision to go through arbitration should be carefully considered.
One of the main advantages of arbitration is that it allows parties to avoid the delays inherent in the Court process. It also allows parties a greater degree of control over the specific issues to be put to the arbitrator, and preserves the confidentiality of the same.
However, there are some limits on what arbitration can achieve. An arbitral award cannot bind third parties to the matter, and is more difficult to appeal than a Court Order.
Once an arbitral award is made, it can be registered with the family Court. It is then just as binding and enforceable on the parties as if it were made by a judge (with the exception of any third parties).