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What is alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR for short, is a more formal term used to describe any means of settling a dispute outside a courtroom. Whether it is through mediation or collaborative law, ADR takes manageable issues and resolves them through a problem-solving approach.

The use of ADR has grown in popularity over the last decade. With the common belief that divorce and other related issues may be made worse by litigation, collaborative law was introduced, as a less stressful alternative to the traditional courtroom battle. Although many legal issues may be candidates for an ADR approach, many attorneys find family law issues are the most beneficial. Because ADR uses mediation as a likely approach to resolution, and mediation is done in a face to face setting, ADR may not be a good choice for situations where fear or anxiety are the key emotions involved. However, in family law cases where parents wish to cooperate with one another for the best interest of their children, an ADR approach can produce a very positive outcome.

The purpose of mediation and collaborative efforts through ADRs is to resolve relatively minor problems through communication and cooperation. Attorneys that are likely to suggest an ADR approach are considered collaborative law attorneys. This area of law is highly specialized and requires a level of training that lends itself well to the cooperative approach to problem resolution. Just as traditional divorce attorneys are trained in litigation as a means to conflict resolution, collaborative law attorneys are trained to help their clients reach resolution without litigation.

Many families benefit by the ADR approach to family law issues. Divorce, custody, and property division are all examples of issues that may be resolved through ADR. A skilled collaborative law attorney can help you decide if an ADR approach is right for your situation.

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Goddard & Malmquist
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