Open Accessibility Menu
Committed To Developing The Best Solution For Your Family

Other Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Besides mediation and arbitration, there are many other processes and different types of divorce that parties can use to resolve their cases without going to court. One is to combine mediation and arbitration, a process sometimes referred to as med/arb. In med/arb, a third party neutral may start out mediating a dispute, and if the parties cannot resolve it by negotiating, the neutral is authorized to render a binding decision. The advantage of this process is that it gives the parties a chance to create their own resolution, but also gives them a binding result outside of court, if they cannot agree. A variation of this is to use one neutral to mediate and another to arbitrate. By dividing these tasks, the parties may be more confident in revealing information in mediation, knowing that another neutral will be making the binding decision.

Another process that parties use to help resolve a dispute is a settlement conference. This process is much like mediation except that the neutral is specifically encouraged to share with the parties his or her opinion as to the likely outcome if the case is taken to court. Knowing this information, the parties may be better equipped to negotiate than if the neutral merely suggests options and facilitates communication, which is more typical of mediation.

A variation on these dispute resolution processes is early neutral evaluation, or ENE. In ENE, the neutral only provides an opinion as to the likely outcome in court but does not seek to facilitate communication between the parties. Parties or attorneys who believe they can negotiate without third-party involvement, but who would like an outside opinion, perhaps by an expert, as to the likely outcome, in order to inform their negotiation, may use this process.

A mini-trial is sometimes used in particularly complex cases to allow the parties to demonstrate portions of their cases for the other side, or to resolve portions of a case without taking those issues to court. The neutral may follow the process by acting as a mediator, or the neutral may be authorized to render a decision on the issues presented. Family law cases seldom rise to the level of complexity that would make a mini-trial useful, but it is always an option the parties may want to consider.

A variation of arbitration is private judging. There are many retired judges who offer their services privately to conduct arbitration or even a full-blown trial for parties who would rather not use the courts. A privately judged trial may be useful in cases where parties have considerable assets or, for some other reason, would prefer the proceeding not be public.

The important aspect of all these processes is that they are voluntary. The parties may use them or not, or they may create their own variations to meet their specific needs. People often feel trapped in the litigation process, particularly in divorce, and many attorneys are unfamiliar with ways to resolve disputes that do not involve the courts. In fact, creative parties and attorneys can develop processes on their own that can better resolve their issues than can a judge. The courts are very supportive of such processes because there are too many cases for the courts to handle efficiently. Divorcing couples, particularly those with children, should carefully consider all of the options for resolving their issues without using litigation. It is also important to consider using attorneys who are familiar with these options, and who are comfortable addressing disputes using non-litigative processes.

See What Our Clients Have To Say

  • I've been very impressed with Harris Family Law through this whole process. - Pat
  • Your kids will thank you. - Michael
  • My lawyer saved me from myself. - Jeff
  • I’m starting my new life now. - Scott
  • With help from some great support resources, we are stable, happy, and moving forward to a great new life. - Amy
  • Once my legal team stepped in, things rapidly began to change. - Anonymous
  • After hiring my lawyer, I am certain that I made the right choice. - Joel
  • Your fast responses to all of our questions and your concern for our situation really made us feel at ease. - Chris
  • I've been very impressed with Harris Family Law through this whole process. - Pat
  • You have been nothing less than fantastic thank you so much and look forward to never having to work with you in the future - Nate

We Care about our Clients, our Team and our Community

  • Our Clients You come to us for guidance, support and assistance at a trying time. We take this responsibility very seriously. You deserve a high level of service and excellent legal representation. WE CARE about your challenges, solutions and process for resolution.
  • Our Team We celebrate the many individual strengths that make up The Harris Law Firm team. We encourage growth while also promoting a collaborative working environment. WE CARE about our team and strive to ensure an environment of collegiality, appreciation and consistent professional development.
  • Our Community The Harris Law Firm supports the legal, local and international community. Through deliberate strategic giving efforts, we work together to bring strength, happiness and empowerment to Colorado and beyond. WE CARE about our role in the world around us.

Contact Our Colorado
Family Law Firm

If you are in need of a compassionate, skilled, and experienced Colorado family law attorney, The Harris Law Firm can help. If you have a legal question about a domestic relations issue, including divorce and the allocation of parental rights, please complete our contact form below. A member of our legal team will be in touch with you soon to arrange a private consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Together we can find a resolution.
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
    You entered an invalid number.
  • Please enter a message.
  • Please make a selection.