My spouse and I have agreed on an arbitrator, now what?
Once you and your spouse have selected an arbitrator, the following steps will guide you through the initial phase of the family law arbitration process. It is important to note that these steps may vary slightly depending on the arbitrator, who has the discretion to decide the process that works best for them and their clients.
Initiate contact - reach out to the arbitrator's office to begin the process of officially retaining them. An important part of this process is that the arbitrator remains in impartial and independent of the parties. To prevent any perceived bias, you will likely communicate with a staff member or the arbitrator’s paralegal to complete the initial intake.
Pre-arbitration conference call – in family law arbitrations, it is common for a pre-arbitration conference call to be scheduled before a retainer agreement is entered into. This call allows you, the other party, and your respective legal counsel (if any) to directly interact with the arbitrator. The purpose of this call is to:
- Understand the arbitrator’s style and approach.
- Determine the legal issues that need resolution. These agreed-upon issues will be outlined in your arbitration agreement, explicitly defining the scope of what will be presented and decided by the arbitrator.
- Agree on the arbitration process, including:
- The mode of the arbitration hearing (in-person, videoconference, telephone, etc.).
- The schedule for exchanging documents and filing evidence.
- The duration of the hearing.
- The involvement of any witnesses or experts.
- Any other procedural aspects you wish to discuss.
Clarify details - the pre-arbitration call is also an opportunity for both parties to clarify any questions regarding billing, communication, and other relevant aspects of the arbitration process.
Remember, this initial phase is designed to ensure a fair, transparent, and efficient arbitration process, laying the groundwork for a successful resolution of your legal issues.