My general practice is to attempt to achieve a settlement prior to commencing the court process.
A settlement can be achieved through:
Discussion between spouses
Some parties agree on what they desire before contacting a lawyer or mediator. They subsequently instruct their lawyers to prepare settlement documents.
This is by far the most cost effective way of resolving family law matters.
Correspondence between counsel
Settlements are often achieved by the exchange of correspondence between counsel, followed by the drafting of a final agreement.
Four Way Settlement Meetings
A four way settlement meeting involves both parties and their respective lawyers meeting at one of the lawyer’s offices, discussing the issues, exchanging disclosure and attempting to achieve a settlement.
I have found this to be a very effective settlement method.
Counsel Assisted Mediation
Counsel assisted mediation involves the parties and their lawyers attending a jointly selected mediator who will assist them in achieving a settlement.
The benefit of a mediator is to give the parties and their lawyers the benefit of a having a neutral third party opinion, or recommendation. A mediator does not have the authority to make decisions in a matter, unless the parties agree to give the mediator that authority.
Non-counsel Assisted Mediation
This resolution vehicle involves the parties jointly retaining a mediator, and attending settlement meetings, without their lawyers. The parties will then typically meet their respective lawyers to review the proposed settlement document, prior to affixing their final signatures.
Arbitration involves the parties and their lawyers preparing written documentation, law briefs, and arguments, presenting the case to an arbitrator (often a retired judge or experienced lawyer), who will be charged with making a final binding decision on the issues.
The end result of an arbitration is very similar to having the matter determined by a court. However, choosing this resolution vehicle can significantly reduce the duration of the dispute, and legal fees.
To learn more, contact me at email@example.com or 613.841.9099 and schedule a confidential, initial consultation.