Hybrid Options

Mediation/Arbitration. (Med/Arb). A hybrid of mediation and arbitration in which the parties initially mediate their disputes via the traditional facilitative process; if they reach impasse, the neutral arbitrates the deadlocked issues. Generally, the parties opt for the arbitration decision to be binding so that they have finality of process. Ms. Manrique is frequently retained to conduct Med/Arb of marital estate issues regarding real property and business interests. However, the use of Med/Arb for parenting disputes is on the rise; it is a good process fit when parents are committed to trying negotiation through mediation but equally willing to adhere to prompt decisions by the neutral.

Mini-Trial. A process in which each party and their attorney present their opinion, either before a selected representative for each party (i.e., the president of a company), before a neutral third party, or both to define the issues and develop a basis for realistic settlement negotiations. A neutral third party may issue an advisory opinion regarding the merits of the case. The advisory opinion is not binding unless the parties agree that it is binding and enter into a written settlement agreement.

Other. Parties may by agreement create an ADR process.

Evaluative Mediation. Participants may agree to include an evaluative component within an otherwise purely facilitative mediation. Ms. Manrique will utilize traditional facilitative techniques to engage the participants in settlement negotiations. If impasse occurs, she will then offer her evaluative assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the issues in dispute. Participants usually adjust their positions thereafter and negotiations resume.

Parent Consulting. This process is utilized in high-conflict situations where parents will continue to experience difficulties even after final decisions about custody and parenting time are made in court, or by agreement. The parent consultant has broad authority to facilitate stipulations between the parents; if stipulations are not possible, however, the parent consultant will issue a decision. The decision becomes binding upon the parents immediately and remains so unless and until the court rules otherwise. In practice, most parent consulting decisions are not submitted by parents for review to the district courts. Typical issues which arise include parenting time scheduling changes, international travel restrictions, school choice options, and medical procedure decisions. Ms. Manrique limits the number of parent consulting cases she accepts so as to ensure she has adequate time to discern the outcomes which will serve the children’s best interests.