Clients choosing mediation-arbitration must sign the standard Family Agreement to Mediate, and also a Family Arbitration Agreement. It is essential that each party obtain legal advice in the negotiation and finalization of the Arbitration agreement. For those choosing to revisit an arbitration, the Secondary Arbitration Agreement must be signed.
The first step for clients, after consulting their lawyer, is to fill out an Intake Form. This is the same form used for mediation.
All clients participating in arbitration processes must also meet first with a person who will screen them to determine if the process is an appropriate one for them. This is a legal requirement that flows from the fact that arbitration is a voluntary alternative to the court, and parties contracting for arbitration are giving up their rights to go to court. If the process is mediation-arbitration, both parties will attend a confidential meeting with the mediator-arbitrator before commencing mediation. If the process is arbitration only, both parties must meet separately and confidentially with a third-party screener who will assess their case. They must sign the Consent to Third Party Screening. The screener will provide the arbitrator with the following confidential Report on Screening for Arbitration.
All other documents required for the arbitration process will be decided by the Arbitrator, the parties and their lawyers either as part of finalizing the Agreement or during the process.
Arbitrators generally require retainers before beginning, and they generally charge an hourly rate or a flat daily rate to prepare for and conduct the hearing. Refreshed retainers are usually required before the Arbitrator releases the decision.