Is Arbitration right for me? The Family Law Arbitration Act becomes law in Pennsylvania

May 9, 2024 | By Hillary J. Moonay

After almost four years, the long-awaited Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act was signed by Governor Shapiro on May 8, 2024.  This Act is a huge win for families in the Commonwealth as it provides a private and voluntary process for resolving family law disputes.  While private arbitration has previously been available to parties in certain circumstances, this Act will provide uniformity to the process across Pennsylvania.  While private arbitration must be agreed upon by both parties, there are several reasons it may be a helpful alternative for your family law matter.

1. Arbitration is often much faster than court proceedings.

Since arbitration is a private process in which a neutral fact-finder – usually a family law attorney – will listen to the parties’ disputes, there is no need to wait for court dates on a backlogged court docket.  The parties and the arbitrator will jointly schedule the sessions which usually allows the process to move more swiftly.  Additionally, there is more flexibility for the parties as to when the arbitration will occur which often works better with people’s schedules.  Unlike a court date which is usually provided without any input from counsel or the parties, the arbitrator can take everyone’s commitments into account.

2. Arbitration still provides the opportunity to have counsel present.

In most arbitration proceedings, if the parties have counsel, counsel will participate in the matter.  Arbitration is often conducted like a trial in which both parties present evidence and witnesses to support their arguments.  Counsel will prepare your case much like he or she would if the matter was going to a trial before the court.  At the conclusion of the proceedings, the arbitrator will decide the outcome of your case which is legally binding.

3. Arbitration is cost-effective.

While there is a cost to arbitration, it is often a much more cost-effective way of resolving your family law disputes.  An arbitrator will frequently set forth a case management schedule which eliminates arguments and court time over things like exchange of documents, presentation of witnesses, and agreements of the parties. 

If you think arbitration may be right for you, please contact one of our family law attorneys for more information. 

The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.     

About the Authors

Hillary J. Moonay


Doylestown Divorce Attorney Hillary co-chairs Obermayer’s Family Law Group. She focuses her practice exclusively in the area of family law, where she handles all phases of the negotiation and litigation of domestic...

Read More by Author