Anna is a trained arbitrator. Montana has adopted the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act, which became effective October 1, 2021. Montana is one of the first states in the country to have adopted this Act. This Act can be found in the Montana statutes at Title 40 Chapter 16.
Arbitration is a new option available to Montanans who have family law issues and who do not want to proceed in a court room. It is a process that is likely to be much quicker than waiting for our busy judges to resolve a case. Both parties must agree on the arbitration process in order for it to be utilized. The arbitration is a binding process. This is how it differs from mediation.
In a mediation, the mediator has no authority over the outcome of the disputed issues. The mediator simply assists in the negotiations as a neutral party and the mediator has no decision-making power.
In contrast, an arbitrator is a neutral third party, but the parties have granted the arbitrator the authority to decide disputed issues.
There are many advantages to arbitration. The parties have the opportunity to select the arbitrator. The process is private. The proceeding will not be in a court room and there will be no public record of it. The arbitrator can resolve limited issues, temporary issues or an entire divorce proceeding. There are some limitations to the arbitrator’s scope, which are explained in the statutes.
The parties typically share the fee of the arbitrator equally, but they can agree on a different arrangement also.