Services - Arbitration

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.
— Mick Jagger

Arbitration at a glance

An arbitrator acts as a private judge to hear both sides of a case and render either a legally binding or a non-binding decision depending upon the wishes of the participants or the type of issue in dispute.

Arbitration is often faster than the court process; it eases traditional courtroom rules that limit the size of written evidence and time for presentation. In family law cases where emotions can be high and topics can be painful, the relaxed and confidential setting – free from strict courtroom procedures, formalities and protocol — can help individuals move through the process without increasing their trauma.

A Professional Arbitrator WILL

  • Listen to both sides of the case and consider testimony from witnesses presented by legal counsel
  • Review evidence
  • Render a binding or non-binding decision (subject to appeal with a superior court judge)

A Professional Arbitrator WILL NOT:

  • Offer legal advice, counseling or therapy
  • Explain which options are in your best interest
  • Prepare court orders

How does private Arbitration differ from going to court?

Parties can have private disputes resolved in a confidential setting rather than a public courtroom and have expanded time for a personal presentation by each side. In this setting, the arbitrator has more time to listen to testimony, review evidence submitted by litigants, and hear legal arguments presented by attorneys.

Arbitrations are scheduled for a set start time so billable hours aren’t wasted while attorneys wait to be heard. In a typical court hearing, the judicial officer often has many cases waiting to be adjudicated; they listen to brief arguments from each side and usually render an immediate, bare bones decision that leaves little time for analysis.

By scheduling arbitration with Jacqueline Jeske, participants hire a known and experienced decision maker. In court hearings, there is little certainty as to which judicial officer will be making the decisions that impact the most sensitive areas of one’s life and litigants may have to wait hours before their case is called. Arbitration can also provide a confidential setting when sensitive or complex business matters would not be helped by a public courtroom discussion.

Arbitration is also a good option for clients who are elderly, disabled or have difficulty navigating a stressful setting (language barriers, developmental challenges, hearing or vision problems, mobility issues, etc.). Traditional courtrooms can be inhospitable environments where background noise, rushed proceedings, and packed benches can make active participation a challenge.

Arbitration can offer parties a faster, less expensive process to obtain a family law decision with a specialist in family law matters. The scope of the decision is up to the litigants who can resolve temporary concerns or final orders as they wish. If the parties choose non-binding arbitration or the issue in dispute involves a parenting plan, the decision can be appealed to the superior court.

Arbitrations remove the stress of having to reach an agreement with the other party and leave the decision to the arbitrator after hearing from both sides. The parties can choose to physically appear or simply submit their evidence and arguments in writing. They can also choose their own briefing schedule to submit materials to each other and to the Arbitrator. A record may be made of the hearing and any evidence or testimony submitted. Once the Arbitrator issues a decision, it is usually filed with the court.

Temporary Orders

Parties can choose to have their conflict decided in a private arbitration of temporary orders while they wait for their final trial date in court. An arbitrator can provide the parties with a temporary decision on disputed issues and do so in a more streamlined, less expensive process than a public court hearing. Parties can choose to follow the same rules as used in court for submission of evidence or less formal ones they agree to with the arbitrator. This streamlined process often results in a faster and less expensive decision.

Once the decision is delivered, it will usually be filed in court; litigants’ attorneys can draft the court orders for signature. Mediators in Washington State are prohibited from preparing legal documents to formalize an agreement.