Court is not the only option for divorcing couples. A common alternative to court is mediation, in which a neutral third party helps the couple reach their own agreement regarding division of property, child and spousal support, and custody. Another option is mediation's close cousin, arbitration. An arbitrator is sometimes described as a more informal trial conducted by a private judge. The parties actively try to persuade the arbitrator on their respective points, and in turn, the arbitrator offers a judgment.