What is the Difference Between Arbitration and Mediation?

What is the Difference Between Arbitration and Mediation?

Arbitration and mediation are both forms of alternative dispute resolution in divorce that can allow you to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of litigation. Both allow more privacy and control over the divorce process.

However, outside of those primary benefits, the processes differ significantly. Let’s take a look.


Mediation involves a third-party mediator who facilitates conversation and negotiations between the spouses. The parties meet together with the mediator, and may also have individual breakouts with the mediator who will use those sessions to better understand each party’s position and work to break down potential roadblocks to conversation.

In full-group discussions, the mediator guides the parties through each issue until they’re able to agree on resolutions or until it is clear they will not reach a resolution. If the parties reach an agreement, they’ll sign the documents and file with the court. If they cannot reach a settlement, the mediator will allow the case to proceed to litigation.


In arbitration, a third-party arbitrator (or team of arbitrators) investigates the facts of the case, analyzes the conflict between the spouses and issues decisions of their own based on the matters at hand in the divorce. The process can be quite similar to a trial, but there are many fewer court/procedural requirements, and it does not take as much time to complete.

Arbitration may feature witness testimony just like litigation, and the discovery and pre-hearing procedures still happen, though they may be shortened to ensure completion in a timely manner.

For more information about the difference between arbitration and mediation, contact an experienced Long Island divorce attorney at Solutions Divorce Mediation.

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