Arbitration And How To Settle Custody And Divorce


I am not really clear on arbitration. I know if the ex and I agree to meet and have the judge at arbitration decide then and there.. that means we don’t go to trial. If the outcome is not what I want, then I can’t file an appeal right since I waived my rights to a trial, is that correct? Please explain more of this to me.


Arbitration is a process for a decision that is outside of the courts. If they reach an agreement to arbitrate  the court’s role becomes enforcing the agreement. The contract of the parties proscribes an arbitration proceeding.  The agreement will determine whether the proceeding is binding or not binding. Attorneys in some jurisdictions use non-binding arbitrations more frequently than most attorneys in Utah. Some jurisdictions even require nonbinding arbitrations in some cases before the parties can proceed to trial. Utah does not require non-binding arbitrations. Further, Utah law does not limit access to non-binding arbitrations either. If the parties do not accept the award in a nonbinding arbitration or settle afterwards, the case proceeds to trial as though there were no arbitration. The award is inadmissible at trial.

Other Things To Consider

However, if you elect a binding arbitration, you severely limit your access to the court. Usually, your rights to appeal would be limited to attacking the validity of the proceeding, such as based on a claim that it was rigged or otherwise tainted. There is no automatic right to appeal a binding arbitrator’s decision. Further, you do not have a right to an explanation of the decision and you cannot appeal the decision for an error of law or for an abuse of discretion as you can in a court trial.
In short, you are correct in your question if it is a binding arbitration that is being proposed.

If you worry about giving up the right to a trial or appeal, you may still benefit from mediation or another alternative dispute resolution method. Mediations are often ordered by Utah judges before you can proceed to trial. If you want other tips about your rights in divorce mediation, consult our full blog.