Alternative Family Dispute Resolution Lawyers in Calgary
Family disputes are often among the most challenging types of disputes to resolve because of the emotions involved. Ultimately, however, few people want to end up in court with a long, stressful, and expensive trial.
Litigation should be a last resort as, by its nature, it creates “winners” and “losers” and often heightens family tensions. This can have a detrimental effect on children and families.
Fortunately, most disputes such as divorce agreements, child custody, and support issues can be settled without the need for a court trial at which a judge must decide the outcome.
Several alternative family dispute resolution methods are designed to help couples reach mutually beneficial agreements with professional guidance.
At Spectrum Family Law in Calgary, our collaborative family lawyers and mediators are skilled at assisting in alternative family dispute resolution methods for couples across Alberta.
Learn More → Reasons Why You Need to Hire a Family Law Lawyer
Types of alternative dispute resolution methods available in Alberta
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods have historically been an effective way to negotiate and settle family law disagreements in Alberta. These ADR strategies can save you time, money and stress if you are locked in disagreement with a family member.
While no ADR methods are mandated by the Alberta courts, the family law system encourages settlement negotiations as they can save valuable court time…
What are the main benefits of alternative dispute resolution?
Mediation and collaboration have multiple benefits over litigation, most notably:
- Alternative family dispute resolution is quicker than litigation
- The process is less expensive than litigation
- Disputing parties retain control of the final decision
- The process is more flexible with ADR methods
- The ADR process remains private and confidential unlike public trials
- If there are children from the relationship, ADR methods may result in less disruption and stress
With arbitration, you no longer remain in control of the final decision but you do avoid a lengthy court process, save costs, retain confidentiality and attend proceedings in less intimidating surroundings.
It should be noted that alternative family dispute resolution is not recommended in some situations because of domestic abuse issues. ADR methods generally work best when the two parties can communicate and, ideally, are open to negotiating a fair settlement.
When should you consider alternative family dispute resolutions?
Alternative family dispute resolution can be useful soon after a dispute arises. It can help to diffuse the situation and prevent an escalation of problems.
The sooner you pursue a resolution of your dispute, the easier it will be to avoid complications and arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.
If you wait too long after a dispute starts, the effects of ego, pride and emotion may increase and both parties may start to “dig their heels in”. This can make a resolution more challenging and mean that a court trial is the only way to solve the dispute.
Fortunately, the majority of disputes can be resolved with alternative family dispute resolution and it’s never too late to pursue it if both parties are willing to communicate and negotiate.
When is litigation preferable to the ADR process?
Litigation is rarely the only answer but certain situations make it more likely that it is the only way to settle disputes. For instance, ADR methods are not usually suitable in the following situations:
- The case involves violence or a threat of violence
- One of the disputing parties wants the matter to be decided in public
- The outcome of the matter affects a large number of people
- The case involves a power imbalance
If you’re involved in a family dispute and considering your options, it’s best to discuss your situation with a family lawyer as soon as possible. One of the above alternative family dispute resolution methods may help.
Contact us here to schedule a consultation with Spectrum Family Law in Calgary.