Dispute Resolution Options

Whether you are married or common-law spouses, the best resolution is always the one spouses can agree on. There are a range of options to allow you to separate with dignity and in a respectful manner, without ever seeing a courtroom. This may include:

Regardless of the process, there are 3 essential requirements to an agreement :

  • Financial disclosure of income, assets, and liabilities;
  • Understanding the agreement, usually through independent legal advice;
  • entering the agreement voluntarily.

The end result will be a legally binding agreement, called a Separation Agreement.

What are the Advantages?

The advantages are numerous.  They include:

  • A more timely resolution:

    • going to court involves several required procedural steps before your matter is decided. The time between these steps can be several months.  When you go to court, the Judge has limited time to deal with your matter and will usually only have a brief review of the facts.
  • A more cost efficient resolution:

    • because there are several required procedural steps in a court process, there may be more cost;
    • depending on the Alternative Dispute Resolution process that is right for you, you may reduce cost by hiring one professional to help both you and your spouse, for example a mediator or a financial planner.
  • Finding the right tool for the job – involvement of other specialized professionals:

    • while lawyers are able to help negotiate legal issues arising from your separation, sometimes your issues are of a more practical nature and require specialized help. We recognize when this is the case and help you find the right professional to help educate and support you through your separation. These often include Family Professionals and Financial Planners.
  • A principled approach:

    • traditional litigation is focused on each party’s position, which can often escalate any conflict between separating spouses and prevent real discussion;
    • by adopting a principled approach, the underlying concerns and important issues of you and your spouse are explored, and a plan developed accordingly.
  • Unlimited Solutions:

    • the Court has limited authority to deal with family law matters and is bound by statutes and case law, which don’t always result in the best possible solution for your family and what is really important to you. Ultimately, you and your spouse have much more flexibility than a Judge.
  • Control:

    • when going through a separation it may seem like so many things are beyond your control. Going to Court is the ultimate example, where you and your spouse are putting your children and economic futures into a stranger’s hands.  In most Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes, you and your spouse will continue to have control over the decisions affecting your family.
  • Respect and Dignity:

    • Your private family matter will become a matter of public record if it proceeds to Court. You have to assume that in this digital age, your friends, neighbours, colleagues, and children will be able to read about your case after doing a simple Google search.  Worse yet, years from now your children’s potential employers and others may search for their names and instead find the details of your divorce.