From both a professional
and personal viewpoint, I believe that a combination of Mediation/Arbitration can be the most efficient and effective means
of settling issues in a separation and/or divorce in the least amount of time for the least amount of money.
Beginning the process by
mediating all of the issues that you are able to agree upon gives you the opportunity to make the choices that you both
feel are in the best interest of your 'family' going forward, in cases where children are involved, for many years to come.
When you enter into a MED-ARB
agreement, as opposed to a simple mediation agreement, any issues that you are not able to mediate can then immediately be
transferred on to arbitration. Without the arbitration component to your mediation agreement, you could possibly spend
many hours and several hundreds of dollars just to end up litigating a single issue that you got stuck on in mediation.
Arbitration is a legally
binding process that provides the disputing parties an opportunity to present their 'case' much as they would in a family
court, only better. The arbitration process is much less formal, and offers more opportunity to put forward all of the
information that you believe to be relevant, whereby in the court system you are much more restricted to the laws of evidence.
That being said, arbitration also follows the same laws, but in a much more user friendly manner.
The ultimate benefit to
using the arbitration process as opposed to the court system to settle issues that can't be resolved through mediation is
the time and cost effectiveness.
The court process can
entail several visits to court with your lawyer before there is any resolution. When you consider that each time you
attend court you do not have a specified meeting time and can be there with your lawyer for several hours waiting to see the
judge. Your legal bills can become astronomical.
To have your case heard
in front of an arbitrator there is no down time for which you are paying your lawyer to wait around. There is direct
access to the decision making process without several various types of case conferences before a trial date. Lawyer
interaction is minimal and therefore eliminates the need for costly numerous communications that inevitably drive up the legal
bills for both sides.
An arbitration award is
just as legally binding as a court order, yet can be appealed, just as a court order can.
To see a Med-Arb agreement
please go the Forms and Contracts page on this site.
The following link will
provide you with guidance from the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Office which is strongly promoting arbitration
as the best manner of resolving family dispute matters.