Family Arbitration &
Our team has extensive experience and credentials as family arbitrators. We teach a leading course on Family Arbitration, we have a retired family court judge working with us and we have been arbitrating family law cases at Riverdale since 2006.
Family arbitration is a private and confidential process of adjudication. Our team has extensive experience and credentials as family arbitrators, given Arbitrators must give each party an opportunity to make their case and an opportunity to respond to the other party’s case, just like a judge. They must be impartial and they must be fair.
Family arbitrators receive evidence from all parties, either orally or in writing, and allow each side the opportunity to make their legal and persuasive arguments. They must make their decisions based on the evidence that the parties have put before them.
Arbitration can be a good process choice for separating couples who have been trying for a long time to reach a settlement in mediation, or through lawyer negotiation. It can also be useful for parties who have a court case and want to bypass court with a private and confidential adjudicator.
With growing wait times and escalating costs of litigation, arbitration can offer an opportunity to contain costs and secure a fair and binding result. Ontario law provides that all decisions of family arbitrators have some appeal options, and that anyone agreeing to arbitration receive independent legal advice first. This helps ensure that arbitration is not prejudicial or harmful to vulnerable parties or children.
We often provide mediation-arbitration where we first try to resolve the dispute acting as a mediator. Any matters that cannot be settled in mediation are then referred to arbitration following a clear, defined process.
Here are some other potential benefits of family arbitration:
- you get to select your adjudicator
- you do not need to have a lawyer (although it is always recommended that you do)
- your arbitration process can be designed to meet your family’s needs
- arbitration is confidential unless there is an appeal
- both parties are first screened for suitability and power imbalances, increasing the chances of a successful experience
- although the parties pay for the time of the arbitrator, all time is used efficiently.
- the process can be expedited, with agreed limits on witnesses and the amount of time each side will have to present their case
- it can be done by affidavit or on the basis of documents alone
- we can include co-arbitrators or other experts if helpful.
- it can be less intimidating and less formal than court
- it can be faster
- you can tailor the appeal options to meet the needs of the situation
- the parties decide what issues will be decided by the arbitrator, how long the process will take and who will be involved.