Family Law Mediation Vs. Collaborative Approach Vs. Litigation – What’s Best For Me?

Divorce isn’t easy for anyone. However, every day thousands of families decide to make the best decision for themselves and separate. The good news is, that divorce no longer must mean an aggressive, possibly traumatic, court proceeding. Every day, more and more options are emerging for divorcing partners when separating their assets and deciding on child custody.

The main three options available are family law mediation, a collaborative approach, and litigation. These options all have various pros and cons and will vary greatly in cost, the time required, and added stress.

In this blog, we’ll go over those three options to try and help make the decision of how to proceed in your divorce easier for you and your family.

Remember, a divorce is a very personal thing. You and only you can ultimately decide the right path forward, whether it means mediation, collaboration, or litigation.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Mediation is a good option for you if you’d like to avoid going to court. Essentially, mediation is a negotiation between you and your spouse with the help of a neutral third party. If you and your spouse are having a difficult time coming to a solution about what to do with your assets and childcare responsibilities, this third party will help you come to a solution, without a judge ruling.

This Third-Party Will Help You Decide On Important Matters, Such As:

  • Parenting time and decision-making responsibility regarding children.
  • Dividing property and assets.
  • Supporting payments.

The Third-Party, Also Known As The Mediator, Is Often A:

  • Social worker.
  • Psychologist.
  • Lawyer.
  • Or other professionals.

A mediator is meant to be neutral to both parties, and therefore cannot take sides, give legal advice, or make any decisions on your behalf.

Mediation is a great choice if both parties want to work together to come to a solution. It will only work if both parties feel safe meeting and talking out the issues with one another. Both parties must be willing to listen to each other, while also voicing their concerns, and working together to a solution in the end.

It’s important to know that a mediator does not replace a lawyer or give legal advice. Before going into mediation, it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer or retain a lawyer to stay by your side throughout this process to ensure your rights and remedies are being respected.

If both parties have come to a decision about the division of assets and childcare responsibilities, you should still consult with a lawyer before signing any paperwork and making it final.

If you would like to have your lawyer present during mediation, you may absolutely do so.

Both parties must agree on the person that will mediate. It’s best to meet with several mediators before selecting one to ensure both parties are comfortable with that person.

You Should Select A Mediator Who:

  • Completed specific training related to your situation.
  • Has professional experience in the fields of social work, education, law, or psychology.
  • Is experienced with family law issues and solutions.

You Can Find A Mediator By:

  • Doing your own research online for law firms, individuals, and other practices offering family law mediators.
  • Speaking with community groups or counselling organizations in your neighbourhood that may also offer family mediation services.
  • Going to the family court in Ontario. There are many court-connected mediation service providers. This is a very good option for partners who may be financially strapped, as many of these service providers offer free mediation services, sliding scale payments, and more.

Click here for a list of family court family mediation services available in Ontario.

De Rose Lawyers Offers Family Law Mediation Services To Families All Over Ontario.

We understand this is one of the most stressful times in your life, which is why De Rose family lawyers treat every client with compassion and understanding. Our highly experienced legal team takes the time to listen and go over all your options. We’ll ensure you select the approach that’s right for you and your family. This way, you can reach a fair agreement and move forward.

What Is A Collaborative Approach?

A collaborative approach is similar to mediation in many ways. Ultimately, the goal here is to come to a solution that works for both parties without going to court. In a collaborative approach, each spouse works together with their lawyers to resolve any outstanding issues.

This process differs from mediation in the number of professionals involved in the process. It’s common to bring other professionals into the process to help sort everything out. This includes financial advisors, child specialists, and other professionals. Based on the individual circumstances of your case, the team can vary.

For a collaborative process to be successful, both parties must be willing to work together, act in good faith, and provide full disclosure.

The Benefits Of The Collaborative Process Are:

  • Preservation of relationships between partners and children.
  • A cost-effective resolution that doesn’t drag on.
  • Respect, dignity, and care are granted to both parties.
  • Matters can be kept both confidential and private.
  • Both parties have full autonomy over decisions made.
  • No one feels left out or like they got a worse deal.

Through these meetings, both parties will eventually reach a Separation Agreement and in the case of children, a Child Custody Agreement.

A collaborative divorce is an excellent option when the two parties are both amicable and want the separation to take place. However, in cases where there is bad blood between parties, or one party is unwilling to divorce or work together, a collaborative process is unlikely to work successfully.

De Rose Lawyers Offers Collaborative Process Divorce Services To Families All Over Ontario.

We understand that a relationship sometimes doesn’t work out, even when there is still love and respect present. In these cases, we will work with our client to ensure a stress-free, timely divorce where all parties can leave satisfied. If you are looking to go over your options with a team of family law experts, De Rose is here to help you come to the best solution, together.

What Is Litigation?

When a couple decides to divorce through litigation, it means they are pursuing their divorce in family court. This is often the case in situations where partners cannot agree upon the division of assets or childcare responsibilities, or in the case that one party does not want to divorce. The downside of litigation is that it takes much longer, as many family law courts are backlogged. Additionally, it can cost more and put more stress on family members.

Family court can be quite emotionally draining, not just for the spouses, but for the children and other family members involved.

However, in certain situations, litigation is simply the best option available. If you were in an abusive relationship, simply can’t work together or agree on terms, or have another complicated situation in front of you, it can be the best option to pursue your divorce in the court system.

How Does Family Law Litigation Work?

In these cases, both parties will hire a lawyer to plead their case in front of a judge. This judge will have the final say in how assets are divided and child custody agreements.

It is extremely important to consult with a lawyer in family law litigation circumstances. You will need someone who intimately knows your situation in order to properly represent you and litigate your case in court.

In Ontario, you must be separated for at least one year in order to proceed with a divorce. However, if there are suitable grounds under adultery or cruelty/abuse, then this waiting period is voided.

Divorce through litigation can be an expensive and lengthy process. The base cost for court fees in Ontario is roughly $583.70. This does not include lawyers’ fees, child support, or spousal support. That number just includes application and processing fees made to the court.

It is not always a lengthy or costly process to go through family law litigation, however. In the event of an “uncontested divorce”, which means neither party has any objection to the divorce and agrees on the division of assets, a divorce can be granted quite quickly.

When Is A Divorce Finalized?

A divorce is finalized in Ontario once a judge grants a divorce order. You do not have to obtain a divorce certificate for your divorce to be finalized. However, if you are looking to remarry, then you must obtain a divorce certificate.

The Pros Of Divorce Litigation Are:

  • You have a lawyer by your side every step of the process, negotiating on your behalf with the other lawyer.
  • Decisions can be appealed after the fact.
  • Clients may feel satisfaction from having their day in court to plead their case.
  • It may be the only option available based on your individual circumstances and relationship.

De Rose Lawyers Offers Family Law Litigation And Divorce Services To Families All Over Ontario.

At De Rose, we understand that divorces are not always amicable, and situations arise that make it impossible to work things out with a spouse. We are very sensitive to the delicate nature of divorces and relationships and will do everything in our power to work with you throughout the entire process to make it as painless and stress-free as possible.

In situations of family law litigation, it can be very difficult for all parties involved. That’s why we will be by your side the entire time, fighting for your rights and remedies, protecting your children, and always acting in your best interest.

No Matter Your Situation, De Rose Lawyers Is Here To Help.

We work tirelessly and passionately with each and every one of our clients, earning us a sterling reputation among the legal community.

Our team is dedicated to helping families by taking a personal approach with every client and ensuring your experience is a positive one.

We empower our clients by providing them with flexible appointments, affordable legal fees, valuable tools, and information every step of the way.