In the realm of alternative divorce resolution (ADR), mediation and arbitration very often become confused in the minds of divorcing spouses. They are horses of two very different colors.
Both mediation and arbitration require that the case be presented to a neutral third party who helps the divorce spouses come to agreement about the terms and conditions of the divorce.
In mediation, the mediator may suggest but he or she has no power to impose a solution on the couple. The mediator may suggest; the couple, however, must acquiesce. In arbitration, on the other hand, the arbitrator has the power to determine outcomes. He or she listens to the arguments from the wife and listens to the arguments from the husband. The spouses agree in advance and in writing to accept the ruling of the arbitrator.