Alternative Dispute Resolution in Divorce and Family Law Matters

“Alternative Dispute Resolution” (“ADR”) is an all-encompassing term often used to refer to any process—other than a court trial—by which disputes are resolved. Mediation, arbitration and collaborative law are considered forms of “alternative dispute resolution.” In addition, the term can include such processes as a “neutral case evaluation.” “Neutral case evaluation” is when a professional gives an impartial, neutral opinion as to how the matter might be resolved in court, in order to assist parties reach settlement.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, Washington, DC, and most other jurisdiction in the United States, ADR is highly encouraged—and sometimes mandated-- by the courts. There is a strong belief that parties to divorce and family law matters can best find the most workable solutions for themselves and their children, rather than a judge who is a stranger to the family. Indeed, in a private settlement, parties can agree to solutions a court simply has no jurisdictions to impose. If parties are able to settle all divorce issues, they can then have an “uncontested divorce.” That’s generally a fifteen minute proceeding in which the court is advised that all issues have been resolved, including issues about property, support and the children, and the court enters a judgment of divorce.


This is not legal advice. Please read our "disclaimer" to understand why this information is not a substitute for legal advice.