Arbitration has been called a private courtroom but it’s really something quite different. The process does involve you handing over decision making to someone else much like you would in going to court. It also ends in a legally binding award but that’s where the similarities end.
In arbitration most choices are yours to make. While the end decision is handed over to someone else, defining the process is very much within your control.
For starters, you get to pick the decision maker. You can pick someone that has the right qualifications and experience related to the issues you are most concerned with. You can pick someone that can work within your budget and your timeframe. You have a say in how evidence will be given and how the decision will be made.
It’s a formal process but not as formal, public and scary as being in a courtroom. It’s also confidential which is a huge plus for families.
Those who can’t or won’t try mediation often want their day in court(excluding those you can’t mediate or arbitrate for safety reasons). Not necessarily that they want to do it in a public forum but they want the opportunity to have their say, and for someone to pass judgement on the other party. To those people I say, welcome to arbitration. You choose what evidence you put in front of the arbitrator, how much time you want for that to happen and at the end of the process the arbitrator will make a judgement based on the evidence you yourself (and your counsel if participating) provided and the applicable law.