Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is available in most family law disputes. ADR usually takes two forms. One is mediation and the other is arbitration. Mediation involves submitting your disputes to a trained professional mediator who facilitates settlement discussion between the spouses. The Mediator does not have the authority to make the decision as to how issues should be decided. Rather, the Mediator only facilitates and Agreement.
Arbitration, on the other hand, involves a trained professional who will decide most issues (except the divorce issue). The arbitration process is a “mini-trial”. Many of the normal trial formalities are dispenses with. Hearsay is typically allowed.
In many counties, Mediation is required before the Court will allow a trial on the merits on custody and visitation issues. South Carolina promotes resolution of disputes through Mediation and Arbitration.
ADR is frequently a very successful process which involves far less costs than contested litigation. ADR should be considered in most every case.