ALTERNATIVES TO COURT

Effective Mediation Resolves Disputes –

And Preserves Relationships

Settling disputes in court is almost always a last resort.
Alternative dispute resolution methods are often far more practical.

HIGHCLASS LAW GOAL:

Uncover creative solutions while keeping relationships intact for the future.

 

HIGHCLASS  LAW 

TORONTO FULL SERVICE FAMILY LAWYERS

 

Avoiding The Cost And Trauma Of A Divorce Trial

Proceeding to trial is expensive and it is hard on the entire family: spouses, children, and even friends or members of their extended families.

But there are Alternatives To Court because not every separation and divorce needs to go to trial. Mediation and arbitration can reduce the cost and speed the process, and we have helped many couples end their marriage without fighting it out before a judge.

The two most common family law alternatives to trial are mediation and arbitration, both of which can help avoid litigation,.

Mediation

Mediation is a powerful and cost-effective way for people to reach resolution without destroying relationships and without the intervention of the court. It offers an opportunity for people to learn from the past in order to prevent problems in the future. In mediation, the parties are active participants in the decisions required to resolve the conflict. The mediator is a neutral facilitator who works to assist parties in their decision-making. Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process.

 

In mediation, the couple agrees to appoint a neutral third party to help them reach a settlement. The mediator does not make the decision for the spouses, but rather helps them find a way to agree on things such as support payments, property division, and child custody.

The entire mediation process can be confidential, or so-called “closed mediation.”

If either spouse thinks the process is not working for them, they may end the mediation process at any time. If it is “closed” then what is discussed in front of the mediator cannot be used as a weapon in court or even at trial later, should the mediation process break down.

But if a voluntary agreement is reached, the terms are written into the separation agreement and become binding once both spouses sign the document.

Arbitration

In an arbitration proceeding, both spouses agree on a neutral third-party who acts as the decision-maker for them, similar to a Judge.

So, unlike in mediation, the arbitrator makes decisions that become a binding part of the arbitration award.

In many respects, arbitration is like your own private court. For some couples, the fact that arbitration outcomes can be confidential is very appealing, although, if filed with a court for enforcement of any of the terms, the agreement becomes public. Other couples like the speed of the arbitration process.

In nearly every instance, arbitration is less expensive than going to trial.

You Have Options

Our goal is to provide you with options in how you separate and end your marriage because family is important to you and me.

 

https://radleylaw.ca/alternatives-to-court/

What is Family Mediation?

What is Family Mediation? 

Family mediation is a voluntary way of resolving disputes where a trained mediator helps parties to resolve disputes about family issues.   The mediator does not decide the case.  Instead, the mediator helps the parties reach an agreement that is acceptable to both of them.

Who are Family Mediators?

Who are Family Mediators? 

Mediators are usually social workers, lawyers, psychologists, or other professionals. When these professionals work as family mediators, their job is to help parties reach an agreement on support payments, the division of property, custody of and access to the children, or any other family-related issues. Usually social workers and psychologists are more focussed on resolving parenting issues.  Lawyers are often more comfortable with the law as it relates to all of the financial issues, although frequently they address parenting issues too so the parties only have to use one mediator.  John Schuman has been involved with custody/access and children’s rights cases for more than twelve years, so he is comfortable with mediating parenting issues.  Mediators do not take sides or make decisions for the parties. They also cannot give legal advice.

Do I Still Need My Own Lawyer if I Want to Mediate?

Do I Still Need My Own Lawyer if I Want to Mediate? 

A party considering mediation may speak to a lawyer before seeing a mediator. It is helpful to know the law and your rights and obligations before mediation starts. Sometimes parties take their lawyers with them to mediation, because they do not feel confident advocating for themselves, or they want legal advice during the course of the mediation to make sure the discussions are on the right track.  It is also important for each party to review any agreement reached during mediation with his or her respective lawyer before signing it.  Parties who use mediation still need to get Independent Legal Advice with regard to their settlement if they want to have a separation agreement that a court is likely to enforce.  There is a lot more information about why should consult a family lawyer before going to mediation on this page. More information on how lawyers help the mediation process can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Do I Still Need My Own Lawyer if I Want to Mediate?

Do I Still Need My Own Lawyer if I Want to Mediate? 

A party considering mediation may speak to a lawyer before seeing a mediator. It is helpful to know the law and your rights and obligations before mediation starts. Sometimes parties take their lawyers with them to mediation, because they do not feel confident advocating for themselves, or they want legal advice during the course of the mediation to make sure the discussions are on the right track.  It is also important for each party to review any agreement reached during mediation with his or her respective lawyer before signing it.  Parties who use mediation still need to get Independent Legal Advice with regard to their settlement if they want to have a separation agreement that a court is likely to enforce.  There is a lot more information about why should consult a family lawyer before going to mediation on this page. More information on how lawyers help the mediation process can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Is a Mediation Agreement Binding?

Is a Mediation Agreement Binding? 

Mediated agreements are not binding until they have been incorporated into a written agreement or a court order.  Both parties should obtain Independent Legal Advice before the agreement is finalized to ensure they understand their rights and obligations, as well as the effect of the proposed agreement.

Can What I Say at Mediation be Used Against Me?

Can What I Say at Mediation be Used Against Me? 

Generally, discussions about settlement are not admissible in court.  However, Ontario has two types of mediation in family matters: open and closed.

In closed mediation, all discussions between the parties are confidential and cannot be used as evidence against either party, with very few exceptions (for example, where concerns arise over the welfare of a child).  In addition, the mediator will not report to the lawyers or the court on the progress of the mediation or provide an opinion on the issues that have been discussed in mediation to anyone other than the parties themselves.

Open mediation means that the process is not confidential.  With open mediation, the agreement to mediate, or mediation contract, may also authorize the mediator to prepare a report once the mediation finishes.

How Long Does Mediation Take?

How Long Does Mediation Take?

The mediation process is flexible and can take one session or many.  The better prepared the parties are for a mediation meeting, the more productive that meeting will be.  It is helpful if the parties have exchanged financial disclosure and figured out the specific areas of disagreement.  However, if the issues are complex, a number of meetings may be needed to come to a resolution.

How Much Does Mediation Cost?

How Much Does Mediation Cost? 

Mediators charge by the hour.  The hourly rate usually depends on the type of professional and his experience. (John Schuman’s mediation rate is $1900 for a half day and $3600 for a full day, which is shared by the parties.) The longer mediation takes, the more it costs.   Some mediators also charge administrative fees in relation to the costs of conducting the mediation (obtaining a room, refreshments, access to some computerized Family Law tools, etc.)  John Schuman and the Devry Smith Frank  mediation group do not charge an administrative fee in addition to the hourly rate.

Mediation is always less expensive than taking a dispute to trial through the courts.

What is Arbitration?

What is Arbitration? 

Where mediators do not impose a decision on the parties, arbitrators do.  The arbitrator is usually an experienced Family Lawyer, psychologist or social worker, who knows Family Law well, and also knows the law with regard to the procedure for conducting a formal hearing to decide issues between the parties.  With arbitration, the arbitrator makes the decisions after reviewing the evidence of the parties. 

The idea behind arbitration is that the parties pick their judge, who is known as the arbitrator. In picking an arbitrator, the parties can choose someone who has the same outlook or values as they do. The parties pay that arbitrator an hourly rate for his or her work.  However, arbitration is still usually faster and less expensive than court, as the parties and the arbitrator can agree to streamline the process.  Also, because the parties are paying the arbitrator, he or she often spends more time getting to know the parties and their situation.  Judges are not always permitted the luxury of having a lot of time to spend on a particular case.

John Schuman can also act as an arbitrator or a mediator/arbitrator (see the next question).

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What You Should Know About Custody & Child Support

When you call Highclass Law, Sabrina can answer your questions about numerous issues involved in child custody and child support issues. Among the common types of issues Sabrina can help you with are:

Child Custody & Visitation

Child Custody & Visitation – Different types of custody may be awarded in North Carolina depending on your family’s circumstances. Learn more about the forms of custody available in North Carolina and what to expect from your custody case.

Custody Evaluations

Custody Evaluations – At times a court may find it appropriate to have a psychologist speak to parents and children involved in a custody matter. Learn more about what a custody evaluation is, how one is performed, and what bearing it may have on your case.

Understanding Custody Hearings

Understanding Custody Hearings – Learn more about the court process for determining custody and factors involved in making a custody determination.

Modifying Child Custody or Visitation

Modifying Child Custody or Visitation – Learn about the circumstances under which a final custody agreement or order can be changed in North Carolina.

Child Support

Child Support – Whether you’re a parent seeking child support or being asked to pay, it’s important to understand your rights in a child support case. Learn more about how child support works in North Carolina and how courts determine payment amounts.

Calculating Child Support

Calculating Child Support  Calculating child support can be a difficult process. For help with navigating this situation, call a family attorney from Breeden Law Office for help.

Child Support Contempt Proceedings

Child Support Contempt Proceedings – Facing a court proceeding for failure to pay child support can be daunting. Learn more about how these hearings work and how North Carolina child support attorney Jonathan Breeden can help.

DSS Investigations

DSS Investigations – If you’re the subject of a DSS investigation, you’re likely worried about what will happen and whether you might lose your children. Learn more about why DSS might investigate a parent, possible outcomes of an investigation, and how an experienced North Carolina family attorney can help.

Paternity Claims

Paternity Claims – Learn how paternity claims can affect child custody and child support, and how paternity claims are handled in North Carolina courts.

Emergency Custody Orders

Emergency Custody Orders – Learn what an emergency custody order is, the circumstances under which a parent might seek one, and the process for getting one in a North Carolina court.

Interstate Custody

Interstate Custody – Custody issues can become complicated when parents live in different states. Learn how a North Carolina family attorney can help if you’re trying to negotiate a custody agreement across state lines.

Relocation

Relocation – When parents share custody and one wants or needs to relocate to another state, certain issues come into play. Whether you’re the parent who wants to relocate or the parent staying in North Carolina, a North Carolina family attorney can help you find the best path forward for your family.

Mother’s Rights

Mother’s Rights – To ensure that your maternal rights are upheld by the court, it’s essential that you consult a knowledgable North Carolina family lawyer so that your divorce does not damage your relationship with your child.

Father’s Rights

Father’s Rights – If you are a father hoping to get custody of your child, you will need to reviw all your options with a skilled North Carolina family lawyer with Breeden Law Office.

Grandparents’ Rights

Grandparents’ Rights – It’s becoming more and more common for grandparents to raise their grandchildren for many reasons. Learn more about grandparents’ rights in North Carolina.

Relatives’ Rights

Relatives’ Rights  Learn more about relatives’ rights when it comes to custody of children that are not yours.

Stepparent Rights

Stepparent Rights – Since stepparent custody rights are complicated in North Carolina, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced family attorney if you would like custody or visitation

Stop Child Support Payments

Stop Child Support Payments – There are many situations in which you could ask for your child support payments to end, including your child turning 18 years old and your child enlisting in the military. There are complex legal issues surrounding ending child support payments, so it is important to consult with a lawyer before moving forward with this issue.

Legal Custody vs Physical Custody

Legal Custody vs Physical Custody – You and your ex-spouse or partner may have difficulty determining legal or physical custody of your children after a divorce. It’s important to understand the difference between legal and physical custody so that everyone involved can make the best of this difficult time.

Dependents & Tax Exemptions

Dependents & Tax Exemptions – When determining which parent gets to claim your child as a dependent during tax season, it’s important to have an attorney on your side who can explain the complicated issues surrounding this process.

Parental Kidnapping

Parental Kidnapping – As a parent who shares custody, it is possible to kidnap your child if you don’t thoroughly understand your custody agreement. Reach out to a North Carolina family attorney to learn more.

THREE EASY STEPS

Create A Plan

No one should tolerate abuse. Plan what actions to takes in your unique situation, that ensures the best outcome in the shortest amount of time.

Execute Plan

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) or let Highclass Family Law advice and help you. Actions will be taken to stop Abuse & Harassment IMMEDIATELY!

Relax Peacefully

You’ll agree – Highclass ongoing advice and direction each step of the way was truly paralleled. Every day is a good day from now on!