Jaburg Wilk


What is Opting Out?

Categories: Family Law, Article

Video Transcript

What is Opting Out? Are There Advantages in Doing So?

Opting out is resolving a family law dispute outside the judicial system. I think that the parties can achieve clear advantages by choosing to opt out and resolve their issues outside the traditional judicial system. One is that the parties control their own destiny. If they opt out by choosing to agree to resolve their issues, then they choose their own destiny as opposed to putting their future in the hands of a judge who is often over-burdened by a daunting case load. Another advantage by opting out is by obtaining a more predictable result. Parties can choose a particular individual who has expertise, education and skills that might be greater than the judge arbitrarily assigned to their case, a person who is better suited to make decisions given the issues in their case than the judge who is assigned to it. The parties also can obtain an advantage by opting out because the process is often less harsh. After contentious litigation, it is often difficult for parties who perceive themselves as either a winner or a loser to repair their relationship and effectively co-parent.

How Can You Opt Out?

Parties can opt out by choosing one of two paths. One path is by agreement. By agreement parties can choose to arbitrate, they can choose to mediate or they can choose to engage in settlement negotiations. Another path the parties can choose in opting out would be by obtaining a court order. Parties can seek a court order asking the court to appoint a specialized individual to serve as a family law master, or parties can also request that the court order them to participate in a formal settlement conference. Overall, we believe that by opting out we can help our clients achieve the goal of obtaining a more favorable result in his or her family law dispute.

About the author:  Mitchell Reichman is an Arizona State Bar Board Certified Family Law Specialist and attorney at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk.  He is a Board Member of the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the State Bar and rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell. Mitch has been named a "Best Lawyer in America" by Best Lawyers, "Arizona Top 10 Family Law Lawyer" by Arizona Business Magazine and a "Southwest Super Lawyer." Now in his thirty-first year of practice, Mitch seeks to maximize the probability of each of his clients obtaining a favorable outcome in his or her family law conflict.