Using Arbitration to Resolve Divorce and Family Law Matters

What is Abitration in Maryland and DC? In arbitration, the parties hire someone to be a private judge. That person hears the contested matters the parties have submitted for arbitration and then issues a decision.

Both Maryland and DC have statutes that authorize and regulate arbitration proceedings.

What are the Pros and Cons of Arbitrating Divorce and Family Law Matters?

Some “pros” to arbitration:

  • The parties can choose the arbitrator. They are able to enlist an experienced professional to adjudicate their claims.
  • The parties can control the timing. The hearing date can be set at mutually agreeable times. The costly waiting and delays that are frequent in court can be avoided. The matter will normally be heard on the date scheduled.
  • The presentation of evidence is frequently more informal.
  • Appeals of arbitrated matters are limited. In a sense, an arbitrated result is more final than a court result. It is less likely the parties will be involved in subsequent, costly appeals.

Some “cons” to arbitration:

  • The parties pay for the services of the arbitrator, while a public judicial official is free.
  • There are more limited rights to appeal a decision.
  • The arbitrator may not be able to render a final decision about child support or custody, since a court’s duty to protect minor children is always paramount.


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