How We Do It
A common belief is that going through separation or divorce often involves “going to court”. While it is true that a Divorce Judgment itself must be granted by the Court, there are many paths available to you to reach a settlement and achieve your goals. Issues of parenting, child support, spousal support and property division can be resolved through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or a collaborative process. Although these matters can be left to a judge to decide, going to trial is emotionally and financially draining and is often a last resort. Our team will work closely with you to identify the issues, address your unique concerns, explain the law and your options, and describe the possible legal outcomes for a successful resolution.
The following are brief descriptions of various out-of-court processes, referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes, available to help resolve family law issues:
In negotiation, the parties work to achieve an agreement. This can be done either by the parties themselves, or with the assistance of lawyers who can negotiate on behalf of each of them.
Mediation is a confidential and informal process. The parties engage the services of a mediator, who assists them in coming to their own mutually acceptable settlement of issues in dispute. A mediator is a neutral third party who has no decision-making power. Agreements reached through mediation are not legally binding, but the terms of any agreement may be used to create a consent Court order or a legally binding contract drafted by lawyers.
Arbitration is a decision-making process available as an alternative to going to Court. Parties engage the services of an arbitrator to hear their arguments, their evidence, their positions on the issues in dispute and make a decision that is binding on them. This process is private and confidential, less formal, and more expeditious than going to Court. The decision of the arbitrator, called an arbitration award, may be filed with the Court and enforced as a Court order.
In collaboration, both parties and their respective lawyers engage in 4-way meetings, committing not to litigate their issues or go to Court but rather, to reach a mutually acceptable settlement.
Parenting is often one of the most difficult and emotional issues for clients. We can recommend parenting coordinators, counsellors and other options to resolve these matters outside of Court.
When parties cannot settle their matters through alternative dispute resolution processes, our Courts are called on to make decisions on the issues, including at trial if necessary. Within the Court process, there are various options to assist in moving a matter through the litigation process.