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Arbitration is the opposite of mediation in many ways.
Arbitration is a form of adjudication where one arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators renders a decision in the case as presented by each party or their attorneys. Arbitration may either be binding upon the parties involved or non-binding. Binding arbitration means that the parties are legally bound by the arbitrator’s decision. In non-binding arbitration, either party may demand a trial within a specified period, otherwise the non-binding decision becomes binding. The essential difference between arbitration and mediation is that in arbitration the arbitrator or arbitrators make decisions for the parties while in mediation the parties are empowered to make their own decisions and craft their own settlement terms.
As with mediators, in order to become a court registered neutral or a court registered arbitrator, an individual must meet certain requirements and obtain certain training. In Georgia, arbitrators are required to either be attorneys or experts in the field which is the subject matter of the arbitration. In some circumstances, arbitrators are required to be attorneys with at least five years of experience. Additionally, arbitrators in Georgia must complete at least six hours of qualifying arbitration training. See Georgia Supreme Court ADR Rules Appendix B. The Georgia Supreme Court’s rules regarding arbitrator qualification are necessary because of the nature of arbitration. Seeing that arbitration involves the arbitrator making decisions which may potentially have a lasting effect on the parties, it is crucial for the arbitrator to be knowledgeable and experienced. If you would like more information regarding whether arbitration is the best alternative for your divorce case, contact one of our divorce attorneys.