Many people imagine an intense courtroom battle when they picture moving ahead with the resolution of a family law dispute. Clients often express apprehension about the long delays and high costs associated with litigation. However, there are other options available to those who want to avoid court, and in many cases, these options can help a matter advance more quickly and with less expense.

At Boulby Weinberg LLP in Toronto, we make it a priority to carefully select the best process for resolving a dispute in order to save clients time and money. Many family law firms choose to default to litigation because it is the status quo, without giving thought to how alternative dispute resolution tools could set their clients up for greater success and enable them to move on with their lives more quickly. Our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in alternative means of dispute resolution including negotiation, mediation and arbitration.

How Does a Family Law Arbitration Work?

Arbitration is a private dispute resolution process whereby an experienced adjudicator renders a binding decision, similar to a court order. However, arbitration can be much more beneficial to the parties for the following reasons:

  1. Privacy – Family disputes require the discussion of many personal details, including finances, income and family history. While litigation is often on the public record, arbitration is a private process where the details are kept between the parties and their representatives.
  2. Convenience – A trial is a process involving many steps, which are all subject to the court’s availability. However, the participants in an arbitration have much more flexibility to make the process work around their own busy schedules, instead of the other way around.
  3. Efficiency – While a trial can take months or even years to resolve, arbitration can be much quicker. There are generally fewer meetings involved, and because the parties can choose the schedule, the process can often be completed much faster.

Enforcing or Appealing an Arbitrator’s Order

If one party doesn’t fulfill their obligations under the Arbitrator’s final order, the other party can apply to a court to enforce it. A court will generally grant this request so long as the award is legally valid. An arbitrator’s award must satisfy the following elements to be valid:

  • The award must be in writing;
  • It must comply with Ontario’s Arbitration Act; and
  • The parties must have each obtained independent legal advice prior to signing the arbitration agreement.

All arbitration awards are subject to appeal with the court’s permission if the arbitrator made an error of law. The parties may agree to broader appeal rights if they wish. In any case, it is not sufficient to simply disagree with the outcome.

Contact Boulby Weinberg LLP for Skilled Representation in Family Arbitrations

At Boulby Weinberg LLP in Toronto, our divorce lawyers regularly represent clients in private arbitration, helping to guide them through the process while ensuring their interests are secured. To arrange a consultation with a reputable and empathetic lawyer at Boulby Weinberg LLP, please complete our confidential online questionnaire, which will provide you with valuable preliminary information tailored to your situation. A representative from our firm will contact you within one business day to discuss your matter further and arrange an initial meeting. To contact our firm without completing the questionnaire, please reach out to us online, or call us at 647-494-0113 ext. 102.