Alternative Dispute Resolution Information

Arbitration is a formal method of resolving conflict although it is less formal than a court trial. It involves similar court processes in presenting and/or defending a claim. Parties present evidence within certain guidelines, witnesses can be called to give testimony and an Arbitrator or a panel of Arbitrators will consider the evidence and make a ruling in the same manner a judge would make a ruling in a court trial. The parties do not make their own resolution agreement, the Arbitrator makes the final decision. Arbitration between disputing parties may be entered into voluntarily, it may be required under certain contractual obligations between the parties, or, in some circumstances, it may be required by a court where a party has filed a lawsuit against another. The parties select the Arbitrator(s) and agree beforehand whether the Arbitrator’s decision will be binding or whether it can be challenged in court if they do not like the decision.

Conciliation is an informal process of assisted negotiation designed to help parties explore different solutions to their problems. This process can help parties develop methods or structures of communication which can help them avoid future problems.

  • Pima County Superior Court has a Conciliation Court which addresses child and custody matters in divorce proceedings. This court does not address property issues or enforcement. More information
  • The Family Center of the Conciliation Court also provides at least one session of mandatory marriage counseling to spouses who are experiencing an ongoing conflict that might lead to divorce or separation. It is not necessary for a party to file a divorce proceeding in order to use this service. The conciliation counseling is provided by a trained marriage and family counselor to help spouses take time out to give thoughtful consideration to whether or not to reconcile or to end a relationship

Mediation is a type of assisted negotiation, which guides parties through a collaborative process to find resolution. It is an efficient, economical and effective method of resolving conflict. Mediators are impartial third parties with experience and training in management and resolution of dispute. This process is private, confidential and cooperative. A mediator helps parties focus on common goals rather than fighting in order to facilitate an inexpensive and satisfactory resolution to problems. Mediation is designed to strengthen relationships through a solutions-oriented process where the more litigious processes tend to damage relationships. In mediation the parties maintain control over the final resolution.

Negotiation is strategy for mutual gain. It involves a ‘give and take’ communication style designed to influence the decision made by another in order to reach an agreement between parties who have some shared interests and some conflicting interests. Parties often negotiate between themselves without involving any outside party, and the success or failure of the negotiations greatly depends on how effective the parties communication with one another.

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