Q: I was thinking about doing arbitration to resolve my family law dispute. What is involved?
A: Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution, or “ADR”. It is an alternative to going to court. It is elective, so you cannot be compelled to arbitrate your case. You must hire an arbitrator. So you get to pick who is going to oversee and decide on your case. You will hire an arbitrator with a lot of experience in family law. The arbitrator can decide many issues between you, e.g. custody, access, support and property division. However, an arbitrator cannot grant a divorce. You will sign an arbitration agreement prepared by the arbitrator before getting started. Notably, parties to an arbitration pay for the arbitrator’s time, so it is a (significant) added expense. The arbitration will be run very similar to a court case, but it tends to be less formal. Arbitrations can proceed much sooner than going to going as you are not tied to the Court’s calendar. Once all the evidence is in, the arbitrator will provide a decision called an arbital award, which is legally binding. We do a lot of family/divorce law, with offices in Georgetown, Brampton and Caledon East. In light of COVID-19, we are doing most everything virtually. So we are happy to have a Zoom meeting or a telephone call without charge to you to see if we can assist you. Have a great weekend.