Alternative Dispute Representation (ADR)
The attorneys at Berman, Bourns, Aaron & Dembo guide clients through various methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including arbitration, mediation, negotiation, and collaborative practice. ADR is especially well-suited for sensitive family law issues because ADR methods use a cooperative, non-adversarial approach to resolving conflicts and disputes, allowing for the preservation of family harmony. ADR methods can also be used to resolve other types of conflicts, such as business disputes, employer/employee relations, and will contests.
Our attorneys have extensive experience helping families who are facing divorce achieve amicable, constructive, and ultimately beneficial divorces. We also handle dissolutions of civil unions and same sex marriages with insight and discretion. Partner Barbara Aaron is a renowned divorce mediator in the Hartford area, and an authority on the collaborative divorce process, training other professionals in the use of ADR procedures. Utilizing our collective experience, we help separating family members establish healthy relationships, free from tethers to past resentment and anger.
Private Special Masters
Special Masters offer objective viewpoints, which helps parties to see their issues from a fresh perspective and embrace creative problem solving methods, so that each party's needs and goals are satisfied. Attorneys at our firm serve in this capacity and are able to offer services as Private Special Masters who assist parties desiring to settle their cases before trial. Judicial Districts throughout the state, including the Hartford Family Court, enlists experienced family law attorneys to act as Private Special Masters, and we are proud that our experience allows us to perform this service.
Arbitration is a relatively formal type of ADR, but it is still less formal than a traditional court trial. In arbitration proceedings, the parties present their cases to an arbitrator in a manner that is similar to the way cases are presented to a judge; however, the rules of evidence and court procedure do not apply in arbitration. An arbitrator's decision may be binding or non-binding on the parties, but in family law matters, arbitration is usually non-binding. Rather, the arbitration decision acts as an advisory opinion, letting the parties know the likely outcome if they go to court, and thus encouraging further negotiations and hopefully a compromise that avoids the financial and emotional expense of trial. For information about another type of ADR that is less formal than arbitration, please see our mediation page.
If you are considering any form of ADR to settle personal or business conflicts, we can help you choose the resolution procedure that best fits your unique needs. We will coordinate with consultants, such as child care specialists and financial experts, if their experience is necessary. Once you have chosen a type of ADR, whether it be informal mediation, in which attorneys act mostly as neutral coaches or consultants, or arbitration or collaborative practice, in which lawyers take an active role in negotiations, our firm can continue to provide advice and guidance regarding your best course of action during all stages of any process, and until you reach a satisfactory result.