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Ohio Supreme Court Endorses Legal Arbitration for Divorce

Thursday, July, 26, 2012

Last week, Ohio's Supreme Court officially gave the nod to legal arbitration and financial arbitration as valid ways of handling a divorce.


Like most sweeping court decisions, this one is not 100% clear cut. What can be handled by arbitration in an Ohio divorce, what can't, and what are the procedures? Read on and find out.

Arbitration and Divorce in Ohio


Among the things that can be decided by legal arbitration in an Ohio divorce are matters like spousal support/alimony, division of property, and similar concerns.


In other words, arbitration attorneys can perform what is basically a specialized form of financial arbitration on behalf of clients who are going through divorce.


This can make splitting up less costly and less stressful for both parties. (Keep in mind that husbands seeking divorce against wives with little or no income will often be forced to pay for their wives' lawyers as well! Arbitration attorneys are usually much cheaper alternatives.)

Where Legal Arbitration in Ohio Divorce Cases Won't Work


The one place where either trial or mediation will be necessary is in matters involving child custody and visitation. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that, when there is a conflict about the best interests of the child, the court should be involved.


For couples who can't seem to agree about the kids, but who don't want to duke it out in court, divorce mediation can be a great alternative.

What the Ohio Supreme Court Recognizes


Ohio's high court recognizes two types of this procedure.


"Arbitration by rule" involves a three-person panel. If either party is unsatisfied with the outcome, they can ask that the case be tried again from the beginning.


When the procedure is done under the Ohio statute, a "panel" of one person is used. Judgments under the statute are binding; involved parties may request another hearing only in the most exceptional of circumstances.