The Family Court is seeing an increased backlog of unresolved cases, especially because of the complications created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hearings – even those deemed urgent – are being scheduled months out. Even more so than in the past, the court is encouraging people to seek alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to avoid what can be a months-long wait for a hearing. Alternative dispute resolution can also be less expensive than going through the Family Court.  

Parents or spouses can use alternative dispute resolution to navigate divorces, and custody or child support disputes.  

Forms of alternative dispute resolution include:  

  • Mediation – The parties work together with a trained mediator to facilitate conversation and resolution.  
  • Arbitration – The parties hire a family law attorney or expert who acts as a private judge to resolve the remaining disputes.   
  • Custody Issues – Third-party evaluators, such as a Family Court-approved, licensed,  trained custody evaluator, can determine what arrangement is in the best interest of the child. 

 Seth Harris, senior associate at the PMK family law division, can help determine if alternative dispute resolution is a good option for you. For more information, go to