At MyOntarioDivorce.com, our objective is to help you resolve your issues as quickly and efficiently as possible, while keeping litigation and costs to a minimum. There are a number of different approaches/models that family lawyers use to help you bring your separation or divorce to a resolution without going to court.
Overview: You and your spouse will agree to resolve all issues (property, parenting, support) through a collaborative negotiation process. You will both be represented by lawyers trained in mediation. You will sign a collaborative agreement to be respectful, to make full disclosure, and to resolve your issues without going to court. While this approach requires a high level of commitment from both parties to be successful, it can be an effective approach where children are involved, as it can help facilitate a continuing relationship between the parties.
Overview: You and your spouse will agree to meet with a trained family law mediator. Mediators are neutral parties who are well versed in family law and who will be able to explain what is likely to happen should your matter end up before a judge. Many mediators are former or current lawyers. Mediators will make recommendations, but are unable to force you and your spouse to come to an agreement. If mediation fails, the next step is litigation.
Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR):
Overview: This model is similar to the Mediation model outlined above, but instead of a mediator, you and your spouse will meet with a judge. The meeting does not take place in a formal courtroom, but rather in the judge’s office or a board room at the court house. As with mediation, the judge cannot order an agreement during the meeting, but he or she will tell you and your spouse what they would order if you were to take your matter to court. The benefit of this approach is that some people are more motivated to come to an agreement when they hear the facts from a judge.
For more information on separation, divorce, and other family law matters, please visit MyOntarioDivorce.com.