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Arbitration: Inexpensive, Informal & Decisive
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is submission of a dispute to one or more impartial persons for a final and binding decision. The parties control the range of issues to be resolved by arbitration, the scope of the relief to be awarded, and many of the procedural aspects of the process. Arbitration is less formal than a court trial. The hearing is private. Few awards are reviewed by the courts because the parties have agreed to be bound by the decision of the arbitrator. In some cases, it is prearranged that the award will only be advisory.
Arbitration and the Law
Arbitration awards are legally binding and enforceable in most jurisdictions. The US Arbitration Act provides for enforcement of arbitration agreements and awards in interstate-commerce and international contracts.
Most persons do not want to become involved in lawsuits. Litigation can entail lengthy delays, high costs, unwanted publicity, and ill will. Appeals might be filed, causing further delay, after a decision has been rendered. Arbitration, on the other hand, is usually faster and less expensive, and it is also conclusive.
Some of the advantages of arbitration include:
Who Uses Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Business controversies arise from millions of commercial contracts containing clauses that provide for arbitration of disputes. These include purchase and sale agreements, leases, property matters, licensing agreements, executive contracts, partnerships, franchises, joint venture and loan agreements and freight-shipping contracts. Even if a clause has not been included in a contract, parties can agree to use an alternative dispute resolution method.
Who Else Uses Arbitration?
How the Arbitration Process Works
Following are typical steps in an arbitration:
How does mediation differ from arbitration?
Arbitration is less formal than litigation, and mediation is even less formal than arbitration. Unlike an arbitrator, a mediator does not have the power to render a binding decision. A mediator does not hold evidentiary hearings as in arbitration but conducts informal joint and separate meetings with the parties to understand the issues facts and positions of the parties. The separate meetings are known as caucuses. In contrast, arbitrators hear testimony and receive evidence in a joint hearing based on which they render a final and binding decision, known as an award.
The Virginia court gives primary consideration to the best interests of the child in determining custody. The court assures minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents, when appropriate, and encourages parents to share in the responsibilities of rearing their children. In determining the best interests of a child, the court considers a variety of factors including the age, physical and mental condition of the child as well as each parent, the needs of the child, the role of each parent and the rapport of each parent, and the "willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child," family abuse, and "other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination."
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