Areas Of Focus

Family Law Arbitration Vs. Litigation

Arbitration is similar to a court process, in that it involves both sides going before a third party, presenting their arguments and evidence, and asking him or her to make a decision.

However, arbitration is not the same as going to court. For one thing, it's usually much faster than family law litigation, in which you may have to wait for a very long time to get a trial date.

In arbitration, you are also able to choose your arbitrator, and can choose one who is likely to understand your particular family situation. In court, you are assigned a judge who may or may not have a background in family law matters.

Arbitration is confidential, which may be welcome to families who have significant personal assets or personal information that they don't wish to become part of a public record, as it is in court.

At West Coast ADR Law Group, our lawyers are comfortable with the arbitration process, and we have qualified arbitrators on staff.

Arbitration In Vancouver And Surrounding Areas

Arbitration is not for everyone. If you are trying to decide between mediation, arbitration or litigation, you may want to consider the following differences:

  • Adversarial nature: In arbitration, both sides present their case to the arbitrator, trying to make the best argument to influence him or her to decide in their favour. In mediation, the mediator remains neutral.
  • Control of the outcome: In mediation, no solution can be imposed by the mediator. The mediator can only encourage both sides to listen to one another, and point out possible solutions, but in the end, the parties themselves have to agree on the solutions. In arbitration, the arbitrator makes the final decision.
  • Finality: At the end of an arbitration, there will be a decision. At the end of a mediation, both parties may have to go to court if they cannot come to a mutual decision.

For couples who cannot decide which method is best for them, a possible solution may be med-arb, which is a combination of mediation-arbitration.

For a comparison of the average costs of mediation, arbitration and litigation, see our costs chart. For a comparison of the approximate times to resolve a dispute using various ADR options, see our Family Law Dispute flowchart.

Contact West Coast ADR Law Group

We have qualified arbitrators as well as lawyers who can represent you in arbitration. Contact us at 604-531-9494 or fill out our online form to set up an appointment. We serve clients in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster and surrounding areas of British Columbia.