Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution is a dispute resolution process that acts as a means for disagreeing parties to come to an agreement without recourse to litigation.

Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution

The three most common forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Family Law are Mediation, Arbitration, and Collaborative Family Law.


Mediation is a process in which the parties agree to appoint a third-party neutral to assist them in attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The neutral third party does not make a decision and the parties may terminate the process at any time. Where a voluntary settlement is achieved, it only becomes binding when the parties have concluded a settlement agreement.


Arbitration involves adjudication by a third-party neutral. While it is possible to structure arbitration to be non-binding, most arbitration’s are intended to be binding. Arbitration will in most instances arise by agreement of the parties, either arising out of a pre-existing agreement or based on the specific terms of an arbitration agreement entered into after the dispute has arisen. Unless otherwise agreed, the terms of the applicable Arbitration Act, 2010 will govern. The decision of the arbitrator, unless otherwise agreed, will be binding, and the decision may be entered on the court record.

Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative Family Law is often described as being a less adversarial process. The parties, their lawyers, and any other collaborative professionals make an agreement to resolve the issues in their matter while staying out of the court system. Thus, the Husband and Wife are each represented by their own counsel. If an agreement cannot be made, the parties’ lawyers may no longer represent them in their matrimonial matter if their matter goes to court.


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