Alternative Dispute Resolution: Exploring Options Beyond the Courtroom

When it comes to resolving family law disputes, traditional litigation is not the only option. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as arbitration and collaborative practice, offer alternatives that can be more efficient, cost-effective, and amicable. In this blog post, we will explore these ADR methods, discuss their benefits, and provide examples of when they may be appropriate. Let’s dive into the world of alternative dispute resolution.


Arbitration is a private process where a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, is appointed to make a binding decision on the dispute. Here are some key aspects of arbitration:

– Flexibility: Parties have more control over the process, including the selection of the arbitrator and the scheduling of hearings.
– Privacy: Arbitration proceedings are confidential, providing a level of privacy that may be preferred by some parties.
– Expertise: Arbitrators are often experienced family law lawyers or retired judges with specialized knowledge in family law matters.

Examples of Appropriate Cases:
– Complex Financial Matters: Arbitration can be beneficial when dealing with complex financial issues, such as the valuation of businesses or determining spousal support amounts.
– High-Conflict Situations: If parties have difficulty communicating or reaching agreements, arbitration can provide a structured process to resolve disputes.

Collaborative Practice

Collaborative practice is a voluntary and cooperative approach to resolving family law disputes. It involves the parties and their lawyers working together to find mutually acceptable solutions. Here are some key aspects of collaborative practice:

– Focus on Cooperation: Collaborative practice encourages open communication, respect, and problem-solving, fostering a more amicable environment.
– Client-Centered Approach: The process focuses on the needs and interests of the parties, allowing for more customized and creative solutions.
– Team-Based Approach: Collaborative practice often involves other professionals, such as financial specialists or family counselors, to provide comprehensive support.

Examples of Appropriate Cases:
– Decision Making and Parenting Arrangements: Collaborative practice can be particularly effective in cases involving children, as it promotes cooperation and prioritizes the best interests of the children.
– Preserving Relationships: When parties want to maintain a positive relationship, especially when co-parenting, collaborative practice can help preserve communication and minimize conflict.

Choosing the Right Path

Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration and collaborative practice, offer valuable alternatives to traditional litigation in family law matters. By exploring these options, parties can benefit from more efficient, cost-effective, and amicable processes. Galbraith Family Law provides further insights into alternative dispute resolution on their blog, and the Law Society of Ontario offers resources to help individuals find reputable family law professionals experienced in ADR.


Choosing between mediation and litigation for your family law matter is a significant decision. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each approach, as well as considering individual circumstances, can help you make an informed choice. Galbraith Family Law’s blog provides further insights into mediation and litigation, and the Law Society of Ontario offers valuable resources to guide you through the process. Remember, seeking legal advice from professionals experienced in family law is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome for your situation.

Contact Galbraith Family Law today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards resolving your family law matter in Ontario. To schedule a consultation, please call 866-264-9525 or contact us online. We serve clients in and around Barrie, Newmarket, St. Catharines, and Oakville.


“Mediation” – Galbraith Family Law
“Litigation” – Galbraith Family Law
“Family Law Mediation” – Law Society of Ontario
“Family Law Litigation” – Law Society of Ontario

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