What is Arbitration?

arbitrationMost people going through a separation are able to reach agreement on the terms of a separation agreement through direct negotiation or mediation, with the guidance of their lawyers. For those who are unable to reach agreement in negotiation or mediation, their choices include collaborative law, going to court, or using arbitration.

An arbitrator is a private decision-maker. Family arbitration in Ontario is governed by the Arbitration Act and the Family Law Act. Arbitration is a good process choice for some people; parties considering arbitration should seek legal advice before hand to make sure it is the right process for them.

All arbitrations must take place under an Arbitration Agreement between the parties and their arbitrator, and everyone must get independent legal advice on such agreements before starting.

Parties choosing arbitration do so because they feel that the process will be faster and more confidential. Parties in arbitration choose their decision-maker, unlike going to court where there is no control over which judge hears your case.

Arbitration processes can be designed to be quicker and less formal than a typical court hearing, which can reduce expense and time. However, private arbitrators are paid by the parties, and they also must pay for their own court reporter (if they choose to have one), which can increase costs.