Mediation is a process whereby parties to a matrimonial dispute, either with the assistance of lawyers, or on their own, can work with a family lawyer having alternative dispute resolution skills and special training to resolve any matrimonial issues. The process is confidential and any agreements reached are subject to the parties having an opportunity to obtain independent legal advice. Mediation permits parties to negotiate their own agreement suited to the unique needs of their family when a relationship comes to an end.
Likely to become more popular as access to the court system becomes increasingly challenging both from cost and availability perspectives, arbitration offers an option for parties to seek a written decision from a knowledgeable and trained lawyer acting as arbitrator. Subject to conditions set out in the new Arbitration Act of British Columbia, (and limitations on finality where children are involved), the awards are final and binding on the parties. The arbitration process can be tailored to the unique needs of each family. It can be narrow and focused on one issue or on all issues arising out of a matrimonial dispute. The process can involve anything from short written submissions to lengthy presentation of oral evidence under oath and complex written legal arguments. Whether or not parties have lawyers involved, is up to the parties themselves. Arbitration can provide cost effective and timely resolution to matrimonial disputes.