Arbitration - Have you heard of it?

24 JAN 2020


You may have heard about alternative dispute resolution and think that the only “alternative” to court is mediation, though there are other processes available for parties in a family law dispute to consider and Arbitration is one of them.

Arbitration is a voluntary non-Court based process where parties are given the opportunity to present their case to an independent Arbitrator to make a determination on financial issues. The determination is final, subject to the usual appeal process.

The benefits of arbitration

  • Selecting the arbitrator
  • Efficiency- as a result of this the parties pay less costs
  • Privacy- the arbitral award (the decision) is not published or publicly accessible
  • Convenience- occurs at a time and place agreed by all involved
  • Flexibility- can proceed how the parties choose
  • Finality- the award is final, it is registered by the Court and only subject to review in select circumstances such as if there is an error of law.

The downfall of Arbitration is that it is only limited to matters involving financial issues such as:

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

You may not feel comfortable with leaving your family law matter up to Arbitration, then you may wish to consider having an Arbitrator deciding part of the matter such as resolving particular facts or values of assets if a complex asset pool is involved.  If the facts and values are determined then it may be the triggering point to facilitate meaningful settlement discussions and proposals to finalise a matter.  If the matter does continue to Court then there are less issues for a Court to determine resulting in simplifying the matter and ensuring there is a speedier resolution.  

If you think that arbitration might be for you, contact our family law department at one of our convenient locations to speak with an Accredited Family Law Specialist.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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