Separation and divorce are devastating for a couple ending their marriage. When children are involved, the process can be even more damaging. An aggressive and long legal battle can emotionally scar all parties involved. There are alternatives to going to court that make the divorce process less draining. These alternative models also tend to be less expensive and quicker than court battles.
Traditional negotiation involves spouses meeting with their lawyers separately. Lawyers provide spouses with legal advice and suggest settlement solutions. When you make a decision, your lawyer negotiates directly with your spouse’s lawyer. In negotiation, it is the lawyers who drive the process, while the clients are in the background giving instructions to them.
Divorce mediation is suitable for couples that prefer to discuss their options and negotiate separation terms themselves, but need the support of a neutral third party mediator to facilitate their negotiations. The mediator aids the spouses in generating solutions for each of the issues that have arisen from the divorce. The solutions are evaluated together and agreement is reached in a civilized manner.
However, sometimes divorce cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation. In this case, arbitration is an option. Divorce arbitration is an alternative to going to court to settle these issues. Divorce arbitrators are similar to judges in that they are neutral decision makers. Unlike mediators, they make decisions on the case that both parties are bound by. If you and your spouse choose arbitration as the way to settle the issues that you cannot agree upon, you must abide by the arbitrator’s decisions and their imposed settlements. The arbitrator will render decisions based on the details of the case and the law in Ontario. If you are unhappy with the outcome of the divorce arbitration decision, you can appeal it under certain circumstances. This is covered by section 45 of the Arbitration Act of Ontario.
Compared to going to court, arbitration is generally faster, less costly, and less formal. If you are in the process of separation, speak to a divorce professional to understand your options for ways to avoid going through the courts. In Oakville, Diane Daly has 20 years’ experience as a female divorce lawyer, negotiator, mediator and arbitrator.