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How does arbitration work in Alberta family law disputes?

The lawyers of Kirk Montoute LLP are experienced litigators, but our firm also helps families resolve their disputes outside of court. Litigation places the parties in opposition to one another, and that situation is not always appropriate if the goal is to come to an agreement on family law issues such as child custody.

The divorce process can be made much easier on children by greatly limiting their exposure to parental conflict. One way of doing that is for the parents to choose a form alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in order to address the range of issues that can come up when a marriage or a common-law relationship ends.

In one of our recent posts, we discussed the benefits of the ADR process of mediation. Today let's talk about arbitration, which is another form of ADR.

In effect, when divorcing spouses choose arbitration, they are choosing not to go to court and instead are hiring a private judge. Generally, the parties who choose arbitration have not been able to resolve their differences on their own, but they want to take a route that is less confrontational, less costly and less time-consuming than litigation.

In a private, out-of-court setting, the arbitrator hears each party's evidence and imposes a binding agreement that resolves the dispute. Each party may choose to be represented by his or her lawyer during the proceedings.

Often, arbitration follows mediation that did not resolve the dispute, though spouses can certainly choose to move directly into arbitration if doing so is the appropriate and most expedient option. Depending on the terms of the mediation agreement, the mediator can also be the arbitrator.

The lawyers of Kirk Montoute LLP are experienced arbitrators and mediators, and we represent clients in ADR processes, including mediation, arbitration and collaborative law.

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