Matrimonial arbitration can be used to resolve multiple or single family law issues which the parties agree by contract to submit to the arbitration process. Some parties are bound by the terms of prior contracts such as premarital agreements to submit their marital disputes to arbitration. Others may choose to do so, even after litigation is pending, either as an alternative to mandatory alternative dispute resolution forms required in their judicial district, or simply because it is a format which appeals to them.
Arbitration is a distinct form of ADR. The arbitration process begins with an arbitration agreement which is a contract governing the terms and process of the arbitration itself. The purpose of mediation is to employ a neutral party to facilitate the parties reaching an agreement about a contested issue. Collaboration requires a commitment by the parties and their lawyers to cooperatively reach an out of court settlement. Arbitration is a process in which the parties agree to present one or more disputed issues to a trained, unbiased third party who hears the evidence, applies the law and renders a decision. Each party has a right to an attorney, and the attorneys and the parties agree on the ground rules for the hearing, including, for example, the presentation of evidence, the scope of testimony, the scheduling of hearings and the allocation of the expenses of the arbitration.