To arbitrate a family law dispute, the people involved in the dispute, the parties, must first agree to take their dispute to arbitration and then pick their arbitrator. Almost any family law problem can be arbitrated, whether the parties are already in court about the problem or not.
The arbitrator will prepare an arbitration agreement that describes the arbitration process, the duties of the arbitrator and the duties of the parties. When the parties and their lawyers have signed the agreement, the arbitrator will organize an initial conference, a pre-arbitration conference, that can be held in person, by telephone or by video over the internet.
At the initial conference, the arbitrator will work with the parties and the lawyers to make decisions about how the arbitration will be managed, including the rules that will be followed — there are lots of options to choose from, as you can see in the Rules of Procedure page — when the arbitration hearing will happen, whether the hearing will be held in person, by telephone or by videoconference, and when the parties will exchange information and documents. The parties will also decide whether the arbitrator will first attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation before proceeding to arbitration.
At the arbitration hearing, the parties will present their evidence and arguments. Depending on the rules 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 prepare a written award that describes the facts and the issues in the dispute, the arbitrator’s decision resolving those issues and the reasons for that decision.
Read Mediation & Arbitration Services for more information about the arbitration and med-arb services provided by John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers. Go to the Participation Agreements page to download our arbitration and med-arb agreements.
To mediate a dispute, everyone involved must agree to attempt mediation and then pick a mediator. Almost any family law dispute can be mediated, whether the parties are already in court about the dispute or not.
The mediator will prepare a mediation agreement that describes the terms of the mediator’s services, the duties of the parties and perhaps also the issues to be resolved.
The mediator will work with the parties and their lawyers, usually through email and teleconferences, 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 statements to the mediator.
At the mediation, the mediator will engage the parties in a discussion about the issues, the facts and their interests, and will work to identify areas of potential compromise and settlement.
If a settlement is reached on some or all of the issues in the dispute, the mediator will prepare a memorandum of agreement that the parties and their lawyers will sign; the memorandum summarizes the key terms of the parties’ settlement. The lawyers will then prepare an order or a formal agreement on the terms set out in the memorandum.
Read Mediation & Arbitration Services for more information about the mediation services provided by John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers. Go to the Participation Agreements page to download our mediation agreements.
Parenting coordination, when it’s done right, is only used when there is a final order or a final agreement about a child’s parenting arrangements. The parents with the order or agreement must either agree to hire a parenting coordinator or be ordered by the court to hire a parenting coordinator. They 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 the parenting coordinator’s authority and how parenting disputes will be resolved.
Once the parenting coordination agreement has been signed, either party may contact the parenting coordinator when a problem about parenting comes up. The parenting coordinator will then gather information about the nature of the problem by speaking to each parent, and possibly also to the children and to other people who might have information relevant to the problem like teachers, doctors, counsellors or social workers. The parenting coordinator will try to help the parents reach an agreement resolving the problem, in a process that’s a lot like mediation. However, if the problem is urgent or the parties can’t get to a settlement, the parenting coordinator will make a decision resolving the problem for them, in a process that’s a lot like arbitration.
Parenting coordinators are usually hired for fixed terms of between six and twenty-four months. They may be reappointed for further terms, if the parenting coordinator agrees.
Read Parenting Coordination Services for more information about the parenting coordination services provided by John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers. Go to the Participation Agreements page to download our parenting coordination agreement.