Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

The traditional court proceeding, in which parties show up in court to argue their case before a judge, can be very expensive both in dollars, time and emotions. Unless there has been domestic abuse all parties must attempt some form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before proceeding to trial. Some forms of ADR are:

  • Mediation
  • Early neutral evaluations
  • Parenting consulting
  • Parenting time expediting

During an ADR proceeding a neutral person tries to work with the parties to reach resolution on some or all of the issues. Mediation is a confidential process in which the mediator listens to the parties positions and helps them to negotiate a settlement.

The ADR process of early neutral evaluation (ENE) is a fairly new process which is also confidential. During an ENE the neutral evaluator listens to information provided by the parties, asks questions, and then gives the parties an opinion about the different outcomes they believe could happen if the case were to proceed to trial. Once the parties have received the evaluator’s opinion then the evaluative process proceeds in much the same manner as a mediation where the parties try to resolve their case by either following the evaluators recommendations or using those recommendations to reach an agreement.

Another form of ADR process that is not confidential is when the parties are ordered to use a parenting time expeditor or they voluntarily agree to use a parenting consultant. In either of these two processes the parties contact the PC or PTE to tell them about their dispute. After the PC or PTE hears the dispute they will often try to help the parties reach agreement and then if the parties cannot reach an agreement the PC or PTE makes a decisions that is binding on the parties unless one of them appeals the decision to the district court judge (this is not the same as an appeal to the Court of Appeals).

Our family law attorney has been qualified to act as a neutral to help parties resolve their differences before trial.