Common Paths To Resolving Your Divorce
There are 3 commons paths that any divorce case can take: court, mediation, and arbitration. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Court consists of attending before a judge to resolve disputes by way of conferences and motions. If required, a trial is held to finalize matters. Its advantages include that it is a structured process, and that judges have vast and significant authority to make a variety of orders on different issues.
Some of the disadvantages to court include the legal fees, the wait times (which vary by jurisdiction) and that sometimes, litigating in court can escalate conflict.
Mediation consists of meeting with a neutral third party mediator who assists the parties in moving their negotiations forward. If a settlement is reached, the parties sign an agreement making their settlement binding. Its advantages can include lower costs as compared to litigation, and providing the parties with an opportunity to construct creative and unique settlements that may not be otherwise available by way of litigation
A disadvantage to mediation is that a settlement may not reached because the mediator cannot impose any decisions on the parties. Also, because it is a voluntary process (i.e. both parties must agree to participate), one party may terminate the mediation at any time.
Arbitration consists of the parties hiring a neutral third party by way of contract as a private judge. It requires parties to waive their rights to litigate the issues submitted to arbitration in court. Like mediation, both parties have to agree to participate in the process. Unlike mediation however, a party cannot unilaterally terminate the arbitration process. Its advantages include privacy (as opposed to court which is a public forum), the ability to choose an arbitrator (parties cannot choose a judge) and that the timing/scheduling is much more flexible (an arbitrator may be available to deal with parties afterhours and more expeditiously than a judge).
A disadvantage to arbitration is that it is may be more costly because the parties have to pay for their lawyer and the arbitrator.
Before choosing a path to divorce, it’s prudent to speak with an experienced family law lawyer to determine what the right strategy is in your case to achieve your desired objective.
BIO Cheryl Goldhart is a certified specialist in Family Law with over 30 years of experience practicing exclusively in the field. She specializes in complex, high conflict and high net worth cases. She is an accomplished lawyer, OAFM accredited family law mediator and a certified family law arbitrator by the ADR Institute of Ontario. Cheryl Goldhart – Expert Family Law Lawyer, Mediator and Arbitrator