Are you represented by an attorney, but need to get your day in court now, with great legal minds that give your case the undivided attention it deserves? Smart Court Arbitration services give you private, dignified, immediate justice in your family law matters.

Arbitration – The “Relaxed” Private Trial

Smart Court Arbitration is a process much like a court trial, but done in our comfortable, private conference rooms, where the rules are relaxed and the process is streamlined. In arbitration, the disputing parties submit their case to the Smart Court Arbitrators for fact-finding and judgment. These aren’t self-proclaimed “judges.” Your Smart Court Judges have been on the bench in traditional court roles and are well respected among bench and bar (read more here on their experience).

There are two different types of arbitration:

  • Binding Arbitration – this process results in a decision by the family law arbitrators which is binding on the parties, and is enforceable by the court as a final judgment.
  • Advisory Arbitration – this process results in a decision which is not binding, nor enforceable by the court. The purpose of advisory arbitration is to facilitate settlement by giving the parties an indication of the likely outcome of the case, should it proceed to trial before the court, or in a subsequent binding arbitration.

In family cases, by law the arbitrators cannot render a binding decision on issues of child custody, visitation or child support because the court has exclusive authority over those issues. The arbitrators can make binding decisions on all other issues in a family/divorce case. If the parties want the Smart Court Judges to have decision-making authority over custody, visitation and child support, the Private Judging process should be used (rather than arbitration).

Why use Arbitration over Private Judging? Arbitration is completely confidential and no documents other than a final judgment are filed with the court. In Arbitration, no members of the public are permitted to attend, and appealing an arbitration ruling is limited to narrow circumstances. Rulings from a Private Judge, on the other hand, are easier to appeal (the same standard as in traditional court). See the Private Judging section of this site for more details on the process.


Smart Court Arbitration is the “fast track” to having your case decided. This results in a much less expensive process than going to court. It is not uncommon for parties going through the traditional court divorces or custody disputes to spend $20,000-$75,000 each in attorney’s fees and court costs, and 18 to 30 months to get to trial. With Smart Court Arbitration your case is heard at lightning speed, resulting in huge savings to the parties.