Calgary Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyers

Divorce and separation are never easy. Emotions run high, trust may be low, and hostility may get in the way.

Sometimes, the court system can make a bad situation worse. It can become easy to lose sight of the fact that you are both in a difficult position and that you need to get through this. Instead of seeking a resolution, you start focusing on winning — or at least not losing — at any cost.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) attempts to get away from that win/lose mindset; it may also be able to save you time, money and emotional stress.

The hope of ADR is that by working together, you may be able to reach solutions that work better for your unique family situation rather than a solution imposed upon you by a stranger, the judge.

Working Together

The main kinds of ADR offered by our lawyers are:

  1. Mediation: The couple meets with a mediator (with or without their lawyers) who explains to the couple their rights and options, and works on solutions to common problems of property division, care for children and support. The mediator acts as counsellor and referee.
  2. Collaborative family law: The couple, each with his or her own lawyer, meets to work out solutions together. The couple can be assisted by other professionals such as financial advisors or parenting experts if necessary. All sides agree that if a settlement cannot be reached, new lawyers will be hired before going to court.
  3. Arbitration: A neutral third party called an arbitrator listens to the couple, and makes a decision about their dispute, similar to a judge but more informal and usually faster than litigation through the court system. Many mediations are done with the option to leave any unresolved matters up to an arbitrator

Our association includes both registered mediators and registered collaborative family law lawyers. We often work with arbitrators.

For all processes, the parties not only focus on rights and obligation but rather on what is important to both partners. They then try to find common ground and work from there. Once a settlement has been reached, the terms become part of a separation agreement, and become legally binding.

If ADR does not work, you can always go to court.

However, even if you do end up in court eventually, it is often productive to try ADR first and in some situation, certain forms of ADR are mandatory before you can go to court. That way, court will only deal with topics that you were unable to solve on your own, as opposed to every aspect of your separation.

ADR is not appropriate for every couple and every situation. Talk to us to find out if it's appropriate for you.

Contact Calgary Family Law Associates

Talk to our alternative dispute resolution lawyers if you are experiencing family difficulties in Calgary and surrounding areas of Alberta. Contact us at 587-393-7850, or contact each lawyer individually. You can also fill out our online form.