Divorce Mediation Blog

What is a Dispute Resolution Coordinator?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

For one thing, it is a name that we made up!

More importantly, a dispute resolution coordinator (DRC) is an impartial professional who is named in a settlement agreement, often a family law agreement at or after divorce, to stand by as an out-of-court resolver of disputes. The disputes can be big or small: are the parties properly implementing their property division; do the parties agree on events during the marketing and sale of a home; have taxes been properly allocated; or is support in need of revision?

Generally, the parties grant the DRC the duty of trying to mediate a solution to the issue at hand, but failing resolutions the authority to make a binding decision for the parties. The process can be efficient, flexible and inexpensive. The parties, who are often court-shy after having had some exposure previously, value the easy access, the ability to be “heard” and the finality obtained.

The parties select their DRC, increasing their sense of control, after a period in which they have seen and felt their autonomy compromised by an impersonal and public court system. Their lawyers guide them to the right person for the job, and their agreement usually provides a process for successor DRC’s, should the parties agree that a replacement is appropriate, or if the DRC becomes unavailable.

The parties to every settlement agreement that includes ongoing interaction of the parties should at least contemplate the possibility of a DRC.

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