Orange County parents who are getting a divorce have alternatives to going before a judge to determine child support. They can conduct informal negotiations with the help of their attorneys, and they can participate in these negotiations to the degree that they feel comfortable. In some cases, attorneys may simply carry out these negotiations on behalf of their clients.
More formal negotiations may be conducted using mediation, collaborative law or arbitration. These are all forms of alternative dispute resolution, and they require participation from the parents. In the first two, the aim is to resolve conflict and reach an agreement that satisfies all parties. Arbitration involves sharing all evidence and arguments with a neutral person who then makes a decision. It is not as commonly used in family law as it is in other areas, and the decision of the arbitrator may not be final.