Arbitration and mediation/arbitration (or “med/arb” as it is often referred to) are ways to resolve disputes that provide an alternative to going to court or using a traditional mediation format.
As a form of dispute resolution, the objective of arbitration is to obtain a fair result without the parties incurring unnecessary financial expenses or delay. In a mediation/arbitration, the parties first engage in mediation sessions with the arbitrator acting as mediator. If the parties reach an impasse on one or more issues in mediation, then they shift to arbitration as the next step.
Arbitration has many similarities to going to court as it involves a hearing where evidence is presented and legal arguments are made before a neutral decision-maker or “arbitrator”. The arbitrator’s role is similar to a judge, and arbitrators are often chosen according to their area of expertise. Arbitral decisions are legally binding, and it’s desirable for many clients as it’s generally more private, less formal, and more expedient than the traditional court route. After hearing the evidence, the arbitrator will provide a written decision called an “award” to outline his or her decision, which has the same effect as a court order made by a judge after a trial.
Clients may seek family arbitration to help with agreements concerning issues like divorce and finances, financial provisions for children, disputes between common-law partners, and parental responsibilities.
Arbitration is often the second recourse if mediation and negotiations haven’t been successful in helping the parties reach an agreement.
Mediation/arbitration may be an effective option when the parties cannot compromise or work together to resolve their dispute.
All of our lawyers are trained to work in the arbitration and mediation/arbitration processes to help client’s resolve issues outside of court.
Trudi L. Brown, Q.C., Kay Melbye and Shauna Tucker of our firm are also certified Family Law Arbitrators, who can provide mediation services to clients directly, or clients and their respective lawyers.