Alternative Dispute Resolution for Divorces

Just because you are going through a divorce or separation, does not necessarily mean that you have to go to court.  There are other options for resolving disputes in family law cases.  Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, is a general term referring to any process for resolving a legal dispute other than litigation.  At Blackburn Lawyers – our Richmond Hill divorce lawyers can assist with alternative dispute resolution. Contact us for legal assistance today.

ADR is not going to work in every situation.  ADR is voluntary, so both parties to the dispute must agree to participate in the process.  ADR is recommended for parties who can speak to each other and act respectfully.  It is unlikely to work in a situation where:

  • one party is abusive or bullies the other party; or
  • there is a power imbalance between the parties (for example, where only one party is comfortable speaking the language used for conducting the negotiation).

There are many factors that are relevant to determining whether ADR is appropriate in a given case. Talk to a Richmond Hill divorce lawyer to find out whether Alternative Dispute Resolution for divorces will work for you and your family.

What are the different types of Alternative Dispute Resolution for divorces?

The common types of ADR used in divorce cases include:

  • arbitration
  • informal negotiation between the parties;
  • mediation; and
  • collaborative family law.

Arbitration is similar to the litigation process but gives the parties slightly more control over the process.  It can be expensive because the parties have to hire an arbitrator in addition to lawyers. While a common form of ADR in other areas of law, it is used fairly infrequently in a family law context.

Negotiation can be a very informal discussion between you and your ex-spouse or it can take place in writing between lawyers.  While the details of an agreement are often discussed verbally, it is important that any agreement you come to is put in writing, reviewed by lawyers and signed by you and your ex-partner.

The mediation process involves an impartial third person who can keep the negotiation on track and will often be responsible for writing up the agreement.  While the mediator is often a lawyer, their role in the mediation does not involve giving legal advice to either party.  For that reason, it is best if you bring your own lawyer to any formal mediation session.

Collaborative family law requires each party to hire their own specialized collaborative family lawyer.  The parties then negotiate a resolution to their dispute under the supervision of their lawyers.  The process is quite different than more traditional forms of ADR, and allows the parties to maintain control of the process.  If the collaborative process fails at any point, the parties must retain new lawyers to pursue litigation.

Talk to a divorce lawyer about your ADR options

ADR can be more cost effective and less stressful than litigation.  It can also allow for more custom-made solutions than you might get in court.  Unfortunately, it is not guaranteed to work in every case. Your Richmond Hill Divorce Lawyer can help you determine if a method of Alternative Dispute Resolution is appropriate in your situation. Book a consultation with Blackburn Lawyers today to see if ADR is right for you.