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3 effective ADR options for divorcing spouses

For spouses who have chosen to separate, alternative dispute resolution -- ADR -- can be an efficient and cost-effective way of coming to an agreement on matters such as child custody, spousal support and division of matrimonial property. In contrast with litigation, ADR processes provide a non-adversarial setting where the parties can reach a mutually agreeable solution.

Lawyers at Kirk Montoute LLP provide services in multiple ADR forums, including mediation, arbitration and collaborative law. Here let's briefly discuss how each of these forums works.

When divorcing spouses litigate, open discussion is limited by the Alberta Rules of Court. In contrast, the consensus-driven mediation process allows the parties to openly voice their concerns and participate fully in the process of creating long-term solutions. Mediation involves a third-party facilitator who can ensure that the participants' voices are heard.

If you choose mediation, then you can represent yourself or have guidance from legal counsel. At Kirk Montoute LLP, we have experience as third-party facilitators and as legal representatives in the mediation process.

If you choose arbitration, then you will employ a third party -- the arbitrator -- to impose a binding agreement after considering evidence and testimony. Essentially, an arbitrator is a private judge. Arbitration is a good way to keep a dispute out of court while coming to an agreement in a way that is less confrontational than litigation.

Collaborative law involves an agreement between all of the parties, including the lawyers, to keep the dispute out of court. Collaborative law is also consensus-driven and less adversarial than traditional litigation. If the parties cannot resolve the dispute through the collaborative law process and instead decide to litigate, then they have to retain new lawyers. However, the agreement not to litigate can be a strong motivator to come to a resolution out of court.

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