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Posts tagged ‘ADR’

FDR: Family Dispute Resolution Week


The theme of the week is “Let’s Talk it Out!”

Featuring events for the public and for professionals, this week features free public speakers, workshops, information centres and more.

I’m pleased to presenting today with Carolyn McAlpine on Mediation and Collaborative Law: A Better Way.  Our discussion will review:

  • —Key Elements to Collaborative Practice
  • —The Difference between Collaborative Practice and Mediation
  • —The Collaborative Team
  • —A Different Approach
  • —Reducing Hostility in Family Disputes and Separation
  • —The Nuts & Bolts of Collaborative Practice
  • — The Pace of Collaborative Practice
  • — A Focus on the Future
  • —A Focus on Interests, Not Positions
  • —Further Information about Collaborative Practice

Today’s agenda also includes:

LET’S TALK IT OUT – Northern District Library



How to be great parents post-separation
Hear from two top family professionals on how to craft a parenting plan that works best for the children. Presentation by Stella Kavoukian and Laurie Stein


Family Violence and FDR
Information, support and resources for families experiencing violence. How to navigate separation and divorce safely— for you and your children.
Presentation by Barbra Schlifer Clinic


Mediation and Collaborative Law: A Better Way
Exploring the mediation and collaborative processes, emphasizing voluntariness, safety, pros vs cons when compared to the court process and how it creates long term solutions.
Presentation by Russell Alexander & Carollyn McAlpine


Public information fair: displays from agencies and organizations supporting families experiencing conflict @ Rotunda


Mental Health and FDR
Hear from a mental health professional about the resources available to separating families experiencing mental health challenges.
Presentation by Caroline Felstiner


Court Connected Mediation Services
What you need to know about Ontario’s free and subsidized family mediation services.
Presentation by mediate393


Smooth Sailing: Navigating Through a Family Law Dispute
Tips and suggestions from a seasoned family lawyer: useful resources including FLIC offices, Legal Aid Ontario, free online tools and other legal resources.
Presentation by Joel Skapinker


Public information fair: displays from agencies and organizations supporting families experiencing conflict @ Rotunda

We hope to see you there. To learn more about this week’s events including where to attend and how to register, click here.

Mediation? Arbitration? Collaborative Divorce? What is the Difference?


Mediation? Arbitration? Collaborative Divorce? What is the Difference?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms are an efficient and increasingly popular way to resolve some Family Law disputes without having to resort to full-blown litigation. Since they all involve settlement of issues outside the realm of the traditional justice system, they tend to be more expedient and cost-effective.

While various ADR mechanisms have unique focuses and processes, many have similar features which can make them difficult to distinguish. Here are the three most common kinds of ADR:


The mediation process features the involvement of a trained mediator who helps couples resolve their legal disputes through negotiation. Mediation tends to be an informal process: it is geared resolving issues or at least identifying common ground between the parties, and therefore narrowing down the issues that remain contentious. (And if mediation fails, then the parties are still free to proceed to traditional litigation). In Ontario it can be used in connection with only certain matters which include child support, access and custody, and equalization of net family property.


In contrast to mediation, which is voluntary, arbitration is more similar to a formal court hearing – minus all the formality. Each party is given the opportunity to tell his or her side of the story to an impartial arbitrator, who then makes a ruling that is binding on them both. Although it involves a less rigid procedure than going to court, there are still certain protocols in connection with witnesses’ testimony, and with submitting evidence and documents. Arbitration can cover only certain Family Law disputes, such as spousal or child support, custody and access to children, and division of property. It cannot cover divorce, marriage annulments, and certain administrative changes to official family status and declarations of parentage. Once an arbitration award has been issued, it can be enforced though a simplified procedure that is governed by legislation.

Collaborative Divorce

The underlying philosophy of the collaborative divorce process is that the parties mutually agree to completely avoid the court process, with the result being a faster, cheaper and more amicable divorce. To achieve this, the parties each sign a contract prior to the start of negotiations, agreeing to full disclosure of information and setting out the principles of the collaborative process. Their respective lawyers – who must be trained specifically in collaborative law – also agree not to press the matter to court. (And if ultimately it turns out that settlement cannot be reached, then new lawyers have to be hired). There is a focus throughout the process on co-operation, disclosure, honesty, and the best interests of children.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at Russell