This prompted me to think in a more organized manner about the dispute resolution mechanisms we currently employ in family law matters, about the traits they share in common, about their costs and about their efficiencies. At one end of the spectrum of options is negotiation, which offers the greatest opportunity for personal choice and self-determination at the least cost, and at the other end is litigation, which offers the least room for personal choice and comes at the highest cost:
|Loss of Self-Determination||Dispute Resolution||Extent of Intervention||Flexibility of Process||Resources
|Probable Cost||Inefficiency of Process|
|Negotiation||Consensual, no intervention; locus of control internal to system||Highly adaptable, no rules||Some external supports, lawyers as needed||♦||♦♦♦|
|♦||Mediation||Consensual, minimal intervention; locus of control internal with guidance provided by mediator||Moderately adaptable, some rules||Mediator, lawyers as needed, valuators as needed||♦♦||♦♦|
|Consensual, extensive intervention; locus of control internal with intensive guidance provided by team||Highly adaptable, some rules, process-heavy||Lawyers, coaches, financial experts as needed, child experts as needed||♦♦♦||♦♦♦♦|
|♦♦♦||Arbitration||Nonconsensual except for entry into process, extensive intervention; external locus of control||Somewhat adaptable, many rules but may be determined by parties, process-heavy||Arbitrator, lawyers as needed, valuators as needed, child experts as needed||♦♦♦||♦|
|♦♦♦♦♦||Litigation||Nonconsensual, extensive intervention; external locus of control||Not adaptable, many rules, process-heavy||Judge, court staff, lawyers as needed, valuators as needed, child experts as needed||♦♦♦♦♦||♦♦♦♦♦|
This led me to two observations, both of which may be trite:
1. Individuals' ability to determine the result of a dispute inversely correlates to the extent of the formal structure required by a dispute resolution process.
2. The amount of knowledge required to resolve a dispute roughly correlates to individuals' loss of autonomy in the dispute resolution process.
And that's my thought for the day.