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Mediation & Arbitration

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution which resolves a legal dispute without the high cost, delay, formality, lack of privacy, and uncertainty that is part and parcel of most traditional litigation.

Like litigation, parties are often represented by attorneys and they present their case to the arbitrator, just like they would to a judge. But arbitration has a lot of differences.

The Time Factor.

One is speed. Unlike traditional litigation, which must move through rounds of conferences and hearings before the parties can even appear before a judge, in arbitration, the parties have quick and direct access to the arbitrator, who usually decides the case quickly. That decision is then made into an Order of Court with all of the power and enforceability of any court order.

Furthermore, in traditional litigation, judges often can only set aside a day at most for a case, and if the case requires more time, it can be spread over months. Arbitrators are usually able to devote sufficient time to hear a case so that it is heard in a timely way.

Control, Predictability and Cost.

Another difference is control and predictability. Family law arbitrators are highly-seasoned, well-trained experienced family lawyers, and even better - the parties are free to choose their arbitrator, and usually the cost of arbitration (the arbitrator's fee) is split between the parties.


Another difference is the experience of the procedure. The arbitration process is less formal and it is a private procedure — unlike an open courtroom — which is open to the public and often packed with litigants and their attorneys waiting for their turn to present their case.

Certainty and Peace of Mind

And finally, one of the main differences and benefits of arbitration is certainty. In traditional litigation, a verdict or ruling rarely ends a case, because the unhappy party can drag the case out for years, with appeal after appeal, often wearing down the victorious party who out of exhaustion and frustration agrees to settle for less favorable terms.

In contrast, when parties engage in binding arbitration (the most common form of arbitration), this simply does not occur, because the decision of the arbitrator is final. Thus, people can move on with their lives without being mired in the quicksand of the traditional legal process, which a party can utilize in an abusive way.

Contact Us.

At Perlberger Law Associates, P.C. we advise clients about the benefits of arbitration. We not only represent clients during the arbitration process; but our primary family attorney, Norman Perlberger, Esquire, author of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code, co-Author of Pennsylvania Family, member of the prestigious Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and cited as one of the Top Lawyers in America, in Best Lawyers of America, Who’s Who of Lawyers and Super Lawyer, is a sought-after arbitrator. Call us to discuss how arbitration can work for you.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is another form of alternative dispute resolution, but it is different from arbitration. It is usually faster, less expensive and less formal even than arbitration.

Informal yet Confidential

While lawyers serve a role in drafting agreements and advising, and can attend mediation sessions if everyone agrees, often the parties mediate without anyone else in the room other than the mediator. Parties can speak freely and at length. They may dispense with the formal rules of evidence and court rules.

Mediation sessions are confidential. Except in rare cases such as threats of harm or suspected child abuse, the mediator may not discuss your case with anyone. The mediator does not testify, issue a report, or make a recommendation.

What Does the Mediator Do?

The mediator facilitates and supports the mediation process. A skilled mediator actively listens and supports the parties in dialoging with each other, often increasing awareness and perspective, so that the parties can resolve their conflict through empowered choices.


In arbitration, the parties present their case to the arbitrator — who decides the case. In mediation, the power stays with the parties. This is the biggest difference.

The premise of mediation is that people are capable of resolving their conflicts. In mediation, it is up to the parties to negotiate and dialogue and ultimately come to a unique resolution that works for them.

In mediation, the parties are free to create agreements tailor-made for their situation, and not imposed by a stranger or a cookie cutter resolution.

The agreements that clients in mediation come up can be memorialized in a legal agreement which may or may not be filed with the court.

People who resolve their own disputes are often empowered through the process, and, because they come up with it themselves, they are enrolled in the agreement. As a matter of ownership, people are more likely to comply with an agreement that is co-created by them, rather than imposed on them.


Through the mediation process, parties often gain a new perspective which allows them to see the situation from the other person's point of view. This alone can often defuse a hostile situation and promote a new understanding and even create good will. Especially in custody cases, the restoration of civility and good will is hugely beneficial to the parties as co-parents and especially to the children.

Contact Us.

At Perlberger Law Associates, P.C. we advise clients about the benefits of mediation. We not only represent clients during the mediation process, but Norman Perlberger, Esq. and Hanna Perlberger, Esq. are Certified Mediators with additional advanced certifications in Family Law.

Call us to discuss how mediation can work for you.
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