What is an Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyer and Why You Want One for Your Family Law Matter

What is an alternative dispute resolution lawyer exactly, you may be wondering. Well, let us tell you. And, while we are at it, we will also say why it might be the best decision you make for your finances, happiness, and future.

Let’s face it, getting divorced is tough. We don’t know about you, but when most people fall in love, get married, and start a life together, the last thing on their minds is what it will be like when they get divorced. We are sure you were exactly the same way. On top of all of it, when you fell in love, you probably didn’t think about how you would navigate the separation process you are now going through. Welcome to the club, my friend. You are not alone.

So, if you are thinking about getting divorced, or are wanting to hire one of the best divorce lawyers for your case, we strongly urge you to consider hiring an alternative dispute resolution lawyer.

Also known as ADR, alternative dispute resolution is another way of saying that you are going to resolve your family law matter, that is, get to a legally binding settlement while avoiding court. 

We have all heard terrible stories about family law matters where things have gone horribly wrong, thus costing the parties exorbitant legal fees, massive amounts of stress, and ongoing turmoil for years. A high-conflict family law matter is exactly the kind of dispute you want to avoid.

Types of alternative dispute resolution

Depending upon your jurisdiction, there are many forms of alternative dispute resolution and your alternative dispute resolution lawyer is a proponent of those methods of resolving your matter using these methods. They are also specifically trained to get you to the goal of resolution. 

For example, if you are getting divorced in British Columbia, such alternate dispute resolution methods available to you include:

   🔵  Negotiation, 

   🔵  Mediation, 

   🔵  Mediation vs arbitration, 

   🔵  Arbitration for divorce, 

   🔵  Binding arbitration divorce, 

   🔵  Four-way meetings, and 

   🔵  Collaborative family law

Most often, lawyers who use these strategies are required to take additional training to be certified to practice as an alternative dispute resolution lawyer. This means that your lawyer is going to have some really great skills to see your matter resolved and they will do it quicker, faster, better, and cheaper than a lot of lawyers out there.

6 Reasons why to seek out an alternative dispute resolution lawyer

1. Why not keep your hard-earned resources for yourself?

Although we cannot guarantee it, the likelihood that your family law matter is going to cost less to get finalized is way likelier compared to going to court.

2. Do you have to hate your ex forever?

For some folks, they want to make sure their ex never finds peace. They hope their ex goes on to live a highly miserable existence. But that is not most people. In our experience at Pathway Legal, most of our clients (especially after their separation agreement is signed and enough time goes by for their broken hearts to heal) hope that their ex finds happiness. Sometimes they even become friends. This is particularly important if you have kids together. Litigation pretty much ends any chance of people having an amicable relationship in the future. Going through an amicable divorce process will increase the likelihood of a peaceful future for everyone, even your ex. Let’s face it, hating someone is exhausting. Don’t let that be part of your future if you can avoid it.

3. You don’t want to go the way of these guys whose dirty laundry has splashed everywhere

  • Johnny Depp and Amber Heard
  • Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
  • Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt 
  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (We are sure the common denominator of these last two is not lost on you either).

Although your divorce is probably going to garner a lot less attention than Johnny’s and Amber’s, our world is smaller than you think. This is especially the case if you live in a smaller community. For example, if your divorce proceedings are in a smaller courthouse, like Victoria, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, or Kelowna, the likelihood that someone you know is going to hear about your case is pretty high. 

Do you really want the neighbour you don’t like to know your intimate personal business?

We think not.

Courtrooms are public places and one of the most significant benefits of alternative dispute resolution is that your private affairs stay just that, your private affairs.

4. Having a creative lawyer might sound like an oxymoron

But an alternative dispute resolution lawyer is going to have a way more creative approach to your family law matter.

For example, at Pathway Legal, we just had a case where the parties were getting divorced in Victoria, British Columbia. Like many places in our province, rents are high, and buying property is expensive. If the parties did the traditional thing, the judge of the court would have ordered that these parties sell their property, split the money and be done with it. They likely would not have been able to buy into the real estate market again. Their rents were going to be much higher than their mortgage payment.

So, because these parties used adr dispute resolution, they decided to continue co-owning their house for the foreseeable future. This was a win for each of them because they are able to stay in the real estate market and it has benefitted their kids who get to stay “home” until they graduate from high school.

5. Oh, and there is the STRESS!!!!

woman going for a walk in nature

You likely have genuine and reasonable fears about your finances, your plan for co parenting after divorce, and where you are going to live. Add to that the whole thing of court and yikes. Handing over significant decisions to some person who has never met you before (the judge) is risky business and it is stressful when you do that! We are not saying for a second that divorce is not stressful. It is. We are not saying that attending a process where you use alternate dispute resolution isn’t stressful. It is stressful.

However, when going through alternative dispute resolution mediation, for example, you can get the matter finalized in one day. Compare that to court, which can take many days. The stress is compounded and extended big time.

6. Why not get on with your future rather than wait for a trial date?

If you use an alternative dispute resolution lawyer to reach an alternative dispute resolution agreement, there is a much higher likelihood that you will save oodles, and we mean oodles of time. When you go to court, the court calendar, judges, and courtroom availability control the timing of finalizing your matter. This is much different than working in a process where everyone is motivated to meet, resolve, and finalize your case.

Summary of alternative dispute resolution lawyer

Your alternative dispute resolution lawyer will guide you through the process of getting you to the goal. What is that goal again? It is a legally binding final separation agreement. You will get to that goal quicker, with less financial cost, less damage to your future relationship, way less stress, and let’s face it, less embarrassment.