To arbitrate a family law dispute, the people involved in the dispute, the parties, must first agree to take their dispute to arbitration, pick an arbitrator and agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. Any family law problem can be arbitrated, whether the parties are already in court about the problem or not.
The arbitrator will provide an arbitration agreement that, among other things, describes the terms of the arbitrator’s services, the arbitration process, the duties of the arbitrator and the duties of the parties, and defines the issues to be resolved. When the parties and the lawyers have signed the agreement, the arbitrator will organize an initial conference that can be held in person, by telephone or by videoconference.
At the initial conference, the arbitrator will work with the parties and their lawyers to make decisions about matters including the rules and process that will be followed (there are a number of options to choose from), whether the arbitration hearing will be held in person, by telephone or by videoconference, when the arbitration hearing will be held, and when the parties will exchange their statements and documents. The parties will also decide whether the arbitrator will first attempt to help the parties reach an agreement through mediation before proceeding to arbitration.
At the hearing, the parties will present their evidence and arguments. Depending on the rules and process the parties pick, evidence may be given in writing or orally through witnesses; in some cases, there is no evidence, only arguments.
After the arbitration hearing has finished, the arbitrator will provide a written arbitral award that describes the facts of the dispute, the issues in the dispute, the arbitrator’s decision resolving those issues and the reasons for that decision.
Read Mediation & Arbitration Services in the Services menu for more information about the arbitration and med-arb services provided by John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers.
To mediate a dispute, everyone involved must agree to attempt mediation and then pick a mediator. Any family law dispute can be mediated, whether the parties are already in court about the dispute or not.
The mediator will provide a mediation agreement that describes the terms of the mediator’s services and may define the issues to be resolved.
The mediator will work with the parties and their lawyers, usually through email or a teleconference, to clarify the issues to be resolved, pick a date for the mediation and decide whether any additional information and documents must be exchanged, what documents will be provided to the mediator in advance and whether the parties or their lawyers will provide written arguments to the mediator.
At the mediation, the mediator will engage the parties in dialogue about the issues and the parties’ interests, and will work hard to identify areas of potential compromise and agreement.
If agreement is reached on some or all of the issues in the dispute, the mediator will prepare a memorandum of agreement summarizing the key terms of the parties’ agreement which the parties and their lawyers will sign. The parties will then prepare an order or agreement on the terms described in memorandum.
Read Mediation & Arbitration Services in the Services menu for more information about the mediation services provided by John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers.
Parenting coordination is only available when there is a final order or a final agreement about parenting after separation, and the people involved in the dispute must either agree or be ordered by the court to hire a parenting coordinator. The parties must then pick a parenting coordinator, who can be either a lawyer or a mental health professional.
The parenting coordinator will prepare a parenting coordination agreement that describes the terms of the parenting coordinator’s services, the limits of his or her authority, the duties of the parenting coordinator and the duties of the parties, and how parenting disputes will be resolved.
When a problem about parenting comes up, either party may contact the parenting coordinator. The parenting coordinator will then gather information about the nature of the problem by speaking to each party, and possibly also to the children and to other people who might have relevant information like teachers, doctors or social workers who have been involved with the family. The parenting coordinator will try to resolve the problem with the agreement of the parties, in a process that’s a lot like mediation. However, if the problem is urgent or the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the parenting coordinator will make a decision resolving the problem, in a process that’s a lot like arbitration.
Parenting coordinators are usually hired for terms of between six and twenty-four months, and may be reappointed for a further term, with the consent of the parenting coordinator, at the end of each term.
Read Parenting Coordination Services in the Services menu for more information about the parenting coordination services provided by John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers.