Tharbitration3ere are several advantages of arbitration over traditional litigation when dealing with matters of divorce. You can read part 1 of this article here. 

Other advantages of arbitration include:

  1. Simple
    The arbitration procedure is far less complicated than litigation, which can be extremely challenging for self-represented litigants to navigate. Individuals can easily attend arbitration on their own, but are also free to have legal counsel represent them should they prefer.
  2. Confidential 
    Arbitration sessions are private, as are the communications, documentation and notes made in the course of arbitration. Litigation involves public court appearances, documentation and evidence – all of which is a matter of public record, accessible by anyone.
  3. Flexible
    Arbitrators will work with the parties to accommodate work and vacation schedules. Although timelines and decisions can be imposed, they are not as rigid as those imposed by the Alberta Rules of Court. Litigation, court appearances and the Rules of Court are not flexible.
  4. Better Protects Children from Conflict
    Traditional litigation is extremely time consuming and trials typically occur well over a year following legal counsel being retained. The prolonged conflict and animosity between parents negatively impacts their children. By providing an efficient resolution to a dispute, children are better protected than they are in a lengthy, ongoing litigated battle.

Do you have questions about arbitration? Are you considering arbitration to resolve your divorce, separation or family matter? Connect with our team today to learn more about the simple, streamlined process of arbitration.

arbitration2Arbitration and Divorce: What Are the Advantages? (Part 1)

There are several advantages of arbitration over traditional litigation when dealing with matters of divorce. They include:

  1. Efficient
    There are numerous steps that must be taken prior to scheduling a court trial and, therefore, Court of Queen’s Bench trials are typically scheduled well over a year following legal counsel being retained. Arbitration is a more streamlined process that can be scheduled quickly, thereby allowing parties to resolve their dispute in a timely manner, often within a matter of days or weeks.
  2. Affordable
    Since an arbitration provides a more streamlined process than a court trial and since lawyers are paid by the hour, arbitration can be far less expensive than a litigated resolution.  Also, arbitration is far more conducive to parties acting on their own behalf without lawyers, which can make it exceedingly less expensive than a court trial.
  3. Experience 
    At Jones Divorce Mediation Inc., the arbitrator who decides your matter is an experienced legal professional with additional specialized training in arbitration. Having exclusively practiced in family and divorce law for many years, our professionals have an in-depth understanding of the intricacies and nuances of the legal principles that face separating and divorcing parties. Thoroughly considered, well analyzed, and comprehensive arbitration decisions will allow parties to conclude their dispute and move on with their lives with confidence that their matter was given proper legal consideration. In contrast, arbitrators who are not lawyers and have not practiced law in the area have a more superficial comprehension of the issues which can result in inaccurate applications of the law and incorrect arbitration awards. Further, Justices have a wide range of backgrounds and parties may or may not appear before a Justice who has any experience practicing family and divorce law prior to joining the judiciary.
  4. Consistency
    In arbitration, parties use the same professional through the entire process. As a result, the arbitrator becomes familiar with the parties, their family circumstances, the details of their property, personal dynamics, specific challenges, etc.. During traditional litigation, parties generally attend court multiple times and before a variety of Justices, each of whom have varying perspectives and approaches. Many interim applications involve Justices making decisions based on an incomplete knowledge and understanding of the family circumstances due to the limited time litigants are permitted to present their case. The result is that court decisions may lack consistency. While an arbitration may also involve interim applications, parties always attend with the same professional arbitrator to afford the parties the consistency of a decision-maker with an intimate understanding of their case and particular circumstances.

You can read Part 2 of this article here to learn more about the advantages of arbitration.

Do you have questions about arbitration? Are you considering arbitration to resolve your separation or divorce? Let's connect and get started. 

arbitrationArbitration: What's involved? What can I expect?

3 Steps in Arbitration

The arbitration process always involves an initial arbitration meeting, an arbitration hearing and an arbitration award.  When there are emergent matters that need to be resolved in advance of the arbitration hearing itself the arbitration process will also involve interim applications.  Each part of the arbitration process is described more thoroughly below:

Initial Arbitration Meeting

There will be an initial arbitration session in order to:

Interim Applications

Any emergent matters are resolved by way of provisional arbitration hearings and temporary arbitration awards are rendered to resolve these issues.

Arbitration Hearing

The arbitration hearing allows parties to present evidence and argument. Many arbitrations only involve the parties themselves presenting evidence but some include third party witnesses, such as experts like business valuators or child psychologists.

Arbitration Award

An arbitration award is the binding decision which is issued by the arbitrator. The award is rendered within one month of the conclusion of the arbitration hearing.

Are you considering arbitration to resolve your separation or divorce? Do you have any questions about the process? Connect with us to learn more and get started.

custodyHow Create a Custody Agreement

When you go through a divorce, the hardest part is facing a future without the partner you thought you’d be with forever. Only slightly less difficult, however, is the process of creating a custody agreement - who gets custody of the children and how that custody will be shared. You want to spare your children as much pain as possible while still remaining a force in their lives. If ever there was a time to work as partners once more, this is it. Here are some tips on how to work together to resolve parental rights issues and work out a custody agreement that won’t break your family.

Informal Negotiations

Some parents—particularly in cases of amicable divorce—are able to work out custody through informal discussions. They are capable of sitting down and resolving all issues of visitation, scheduling, and parental rights, and only need to call upon the services of an attorney to finalize the agreement. This is the best of all possible scenarios. If you can get past your pain, grief and anger, you may be able to work things out as is best for everyone involved.

Court-Mandated Custody

This is perhaps the least desirable of the methods available to you. When negotiations completely break down and the divorce becomes very adversarial, the courts can step in. A judge will review each side’s case—usually presented by their divorce attorneys—and make a determination regarding which parent is best able to care for the child. The court will determine the best sharing of custody, visitation rights and scheduling, and the parents will be mandated to abide by these rulings, possibly in a supervised setting. This can create a lot of anguish and stress for the family and the children specifically.

Mediation and Custody Agreement

For many, an alternative dispute resolution in the form of mediated divorce can be an ideal middle ground. In a mediated divorce, a neutral third party who is well-versed in divorce laws and experienced in handling sensitive issues will help you resolve your differences. This mediator is a trained expert in helping couples get past negative feelings such as pain and anger in order to work together as a team once more. This ability will be vital as you move forward to raise your child.

Mediated divorces are less expensive than court proceedings. They allow you to maintain your privacy. They help you to overcome resentment, bitterness and blame. They can, in some cases, help to find a friendship or at least an abiding partnership out of the destruction of a romantic relationship. Certainly, they are one of the best options for couples to make the decisions that are best for their family while shielding their children from the pain and trauma that results from their parents battling it out.

If you think that mediated divorce may help you to work out your custody agreement, don’t wait. Give us a call for more information and a consultation today.

mediationDivorce mediation can be a great first option for couples who are separating. It allows you to approach your split with rationality and compromise. It can avoid fights, preserve relationships and protect children. It can also save a lot of money and protect your privacy. Many people may wonder, however, if they need a lawyer to pursue mediation, and what the difference is between a mediator and a lawyer. Let’s take a look.

Different Roles

Lawyers may be involved during the process of mediation, but they serve a very different role than the mediator. A divorce lawyer and a divorce mediator have different professional specialties and different training. They have different outlooks on the process and goal of divorce. It can be important to understand what each does and how the process works.

The Mediator

A divorce mediator is there to resolve conflict between the parties. They are impartial participants whose job it is to solve problems and come to an acceptable divorce agreement. They help their clients see past anger and pain and view the things that are in everyone’s best interest.

A mediator can help you to view the process rationally and compromise. They protect all aspects of the divorce and never focus on one side more than the other. They see their job as untangling the relationship so that both parties can move forward with their lives.

The Lawyer

An lawyer knows all of the ins and outs of divorce law. Their job is to protect the rights of their clients and advocate for their client’s needs. They can help to untangle the complicated legal aspects of divorce. Sometimes mediation fails, and when this happens, the divorce can move towards litigation. In this case it may be vital to have a lawyer in your corner.

The lawyer's sole responsibility is to advocate for their client as rigorously as possible. They want to make sure that their client is treated fairly and gets what they deserve.

Enemies and Allies?

This does not make the lawyer the enemy or opposite of a mediator. On the contrary, many of the most important aspects of mediation were created by learned lawyers. A lawyer, very often, prefers not to go to court as this is rarely in the best interest of anyone involved.

It is always best for a divorcing couple to get through the process as quickly and cleanly as possible, and an attorney knows this. By having an attorney at your side, you can still pursue a mediated divorce, while having someone there who can advise you on the legalities of the agreement you are pursuing.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to complete divorce mediation. The process is often very straightforward and is much easier than court. This is especially true if both parties are still friendly or have healthy respect for one another.

If you have any questions about the process of divorce mediation, we are here to provide any information and help we can. Connect with us today to get started.

Do you need a divorce lawyer?  Visit our partner firm, Jones Divorce Law LLP for more information.

sorryWhen a relationship ends, people often have things they need to say in order for both parties to continue to function and cooperate. During the divorce process, a lot of blame can be passed around, and people often say things they don’t mean when tension is running high.

These reactions feel reasonable and controlling them can be very difficult. A misplaced insult or a thoughtless action during mediation may cause regrets that can stay with us and our loved ones. During the divorce process, animosity and old wounds can make the process longer and more difficult. When there are children in the picture, reaching a point where all parties can heal is even more important.

As we all know, apologies matter when we have been hurt by someone close to us. The problem is, not all apologies are created equal and a poor apology can do more harm than good. As a divorce lawyers serving Calgary for over a decade, we would like to share some tips on how to make your apology count so you can avoid painful miscommunication with your spouse.

It is important to put effort into an apology and demonstrate that you understand the way in which the other person was hurt. Just saying the words ‘I’m sorry’ can be a good start, but they can also be empty or meaningless in the eyes of someone who is hurting. Instead, try to summarize what you are sorry for and acknowledge the feelings of the person you are apologize to. For instance, “I am sorry I insulted your mom. It was rude of me and I understand how hurtful that comment was. I never meant to make you feel that you had to choose between us.” This is an example of a solid apology as it contains a ‘sorry’, a demonstration of understanding and an acknowledgement of the other person’s feelings.

When saying you are sorry, always avoid qualifiers. Qualifiers are ways in which an apology is worded to deflect blame or invalidate the other person’s feelings. For instance, “I’m sorry you feel I was rude,” is a subtle way of shifting blame from yourself to the person receiving the apology. “I’m sorry I was rude but your mother is horrible,” is another example of blame shifting. Yet another example of a poorly constructed apology is, “I’m sorry I was rude but you are always rude about my sister.” These types of apologies make a false quid-pro-quo between this situation and another, turning what could have been a good apology into a chance for the apologizer to voice their own complaints. When you use qualifiers in an apology, the person you are apologizing to is likely to feel that you are apologizing as a way of furthering your own ends, and not to make them feel better.

We hope this advice is helpful in building genuine, sincere apologies that maintain open communication and foster cooperation.

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