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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) helps people resolve their disputes informally, without going to trial. It refers to a variety of processes, including mediation, neutral case evaluation and arbitration. To learn how ADR can work in your court case please click on your case type under Mediation Topics.

In mediation, you and the other side meet with a neutral, highly qualified professional called a mediator. The mediator helps you discuss issues and work out a solution in a confidential setting. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, who decides the outcome of a case, the mediator is there to help you and the other side reach an agreement that is acceptable to you both. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or force you to reach an agreement. In mediation, you are in control, and can talk about what matters most to you.

If you reach an agreement in mediation, your agreement will be written down and presented to a judge. If the judge approves it, the agreement will become a court order. 

If you do not reach an agreement, then the case may be scheduled for a court hearing. The conversation you had in mediation is confidential, and so, cannot be brought up during your court hearings.

If you are interested in mediation, click your case type in the navigation bar for information on cost and how to start the process.

In NCE, a sitting or retired judge or marital master (called an “Evaluator”) will help you and the other side discuss the areas of disagreement in your case. Then, the Evaluator will share an opinion about what a judge might decide about those areas of disagreement if the case went to trial. In NCE, you have the opportunity to come to an agreement on all, some, or none of the issues. If you come to an agreement, you will sign the agreement and it will be submitted to the judge hearing your case for review and approval. Divorce/parenting NCE and trusts and estates NCE are available after a case has gone through mediation.

In arbitration, you and the other party will present your evidence in front of a neutral arbitrator. The arbitrator will then announce a decision. Arbitration is different from mediation because the neutral arbitrator has the authority to make a decision about the dispute. Arbitration is different from trial because the arbitrator is not a judicial officer, and is usually faster and more informal than trial. Civil Superior Court cases can request either pre-filing arbitration or post-filing arbitration.

Private Mediation

Interested in ADR but do not have a court case? You may wish use the following resources to find a private professional:

New Hampshire Conflict Resolution Association
National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
Family Mediation Certification Board

Complaint Process

If you have a concern about an ADR professional or a complaint about a process you went through, please fill out the complaint form by clicking on the button below. You may also fill in this PDF of the complaint form and send it to the Office of Mediation and Arbitration by email or mail. We may contact you for a phone call.

Fill out the complaint form  

Contact Us

Telephone: (603) 271-6418
Address: 1 Granite Place, Suite N400
Concord NH 03301

Let us know how mediation worked for you. Fill out a short feedback survey.