What is an Online Dispute Resolution?
An online dispute resolution is a very important tool that the court offers to parties prior to having to attend a family mediation. This tool is an opportunity that the court gives the parties whereby it allows the parties to finalize a parenting agreement on their own or with the use of a mediator, but it is done online. The family mediation center will contact the plaintiff, the person who started either the divorce or the custody action, and it will give them four days to upload their proposed parenting agreement to their forum. The defendant, the second party to the action, will have an additional four days to review this proposed parenting agreement to make any changes that they wish to make and or to come to an agreement on the proposed plan. During this time both parties will then have an opportunity to go online to discuss where they might want to tweak, what they may be willing to give, what they might want to take and how they might want to come to an agreement as to their parenting plan.
The online dispute resolution process differs from mediation where in mediation you have a set time and a set date that you must attend in person before a mediator. This process is much better in that it gives you more time at your leisure to complete the parenting agreement. You have four days, but the program is open 24/7. Some perks to having this additional time include:
- Log in at your convenience
If you work, or have other commitments during the day, you can log in in the evening or another time that is most convenient with your schedule.
- Take your time to think things through
Feel free to approach the parenting plan in sections. Immediately draft up the points you are sure and firm on and give yourself time to think over the points that you aren’t as sure of yet. This benefit eliminates the idea of feeling rushed or persuaded into agreeing to something you’ve not given much thought to.
- Allows for time to reflect on and reevaluate your plan
Unlike in mediation, through the online dispute resolution program, you can work on your parenting plan when it’s convenient, however, should you change your mind on anything, you have time to make adjustments. Nothing is finalized until both parties have had their allocated time and a final plan is agreed to.
The fees for this program are minimal, but does depend on the degree of professional mediation. For example, the cost is $35 if the parties come to an agreement without the use of a mediator, however, if you do need a mediator to finalize an agreement the cost is $50. Again, it’s a reasonable price and is much more convenient than the in-person mediation.
While this tool can be very effective in helping parties come to an agreement, if the parties ultimately do not come to an agreement, then they will have to attend the family mediation center mediation that has been ordered by the court. This involves attending in person, in front of the mediator. The fees for these meetings are a little bit higher and they vary according to the party’s income. The fees can range from $50 to a maximum of up to $200.
If you are experiencing or considering divorce, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Our team can help to answer any questions you may have, as well as guide you through what to expect during the process. To schedule a one-on-one consultation, contact our office at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or schedule a consultation online.