What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a process  in which parties to a dispute present arguments and evidence to an impartial third party (arbitrator), who makes a determination to resolve the dispute. It can either be undertaken by a private agreement or by referral from a court.

Arbitration, like mediation, can be a cost effective, timely way to decide any or all issues. Arbitration can resolved all issues or narrow the issues for a court to decide.

The advantages of arbitration include:

  • The parties have control of the arbitration process and it can be structured to meet the needs of the individual parties and their issues;
  • An arbitration does not require the same level of formality as a Court hearing.
  • The arbitration can be held at a time and place as agreed between the parties and the arbitrator.
  • The parties and arbitrator set their own timetable. As a result, the parties can avoid the delays inherent in Court matters, obtain a prompt resolution of disputed issues, and have certainty that the hearing will take place on the agreed date.
  • The arbitrator must provide a written decision on a time agreed or within 28 days of the arbitration hearing;
  • Arbitration takes place in a confidential setting. Arbitrators take an oath not to disclose any communication or information received in their capacity as arbitrator.
  • An arbitration award is binding and enforceable and only reviewable in limited circumstances;.
  • By designing an arbitration process which meets their individual needs, and avoiding the costs of litigation, parties can achieve significant costs savings.

Types of family law matters that can be arbitrated:

  • Property matters;
  • Spousal maintenance;
  • Maintenance agreements;
  • Financial agreements made pre, post or during marriage;
  • Superannuation agreements; and
  • Execution and compliance with court orders

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