We are a not-for-profit organization designed to support families in your community. We serve all across Ontario and Canada. Our services are provided in-person and virtually.
Other than mediation and litigation, other methods that are available to settle the outstanding issues are neutral evaluation, arbitration and mediation/arbitration. Mediation/arbitration is a dispute resolution method that is a hybrid of mediation and arbitration. There is a debate as to the propriety of a professional acting as both a mediator (who does not give an opinion or decision) and an arbitrator (whose only role is to give a decision). Mediation/arbitration is prohibited by the Arbitration Act, however, the spouses may specifically waive that prohibition. In mediation/arbitration, the mediator/arbitrator first attempts to settle the issues through mediation. Mediation may turn into arbitration if the mediator/arbitrator determines that mediation has failed. The mediator/arbitrator then ignores all the information that had been exchanged in the mediation and hears the matter afresh as an arbitration. The mediator/arbitrator cannot mediate while he or she is arbitrating and cannot arbitrate while he or she is mediating.
This depends on a number of factors, including the children’s best interests, the current parenting arrangements between the parents, the wishes of the children, the nature of the relationship that each parent has with the children, the reasons for the move, the distance of the move, and the financial ability of the remaining parent to see the children.
A dispute resolution officer (DRO) is a lawyer who is a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada, has practiced primarily in the field of family law for a minimum of ten years, and has been appointed to assist the judges and the court system. At Toronto’s divorce court—the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the DRO meets with separated spouses before their case proceeds to a hearing before a judge to attempt to resolve their case, or at least to narrowly define the issues and create a timetable to proceed to a hearing.
DRO’s are typically involved in cases where one spouse is applying to the court to change a child support order or to change the parenting plan. The programme has been very successful. Approximately two-thirds of the cases are settled by the DRO without proceeding before a judge. Those cases that do proceed to a hearing before a judge have benefited by the DRO assisting the parties in defining the issues and ensuring that the proper evidence is submitted to the judge.