There is a requirement in Alberta (with some exceptions) for parties to family law cases to try and resolve their disputes without going to court. This essentially means that, before going to court, the parties must try and resolve their differences and arrive at an agreement.
Mediation and arbitration are two forms of alternative dispute resolution that are available for this purpose. Mediation is a process in which the parties use a third party who is neutral and who is trained in problem-solving to help them resolve their dispute. The job of a mediator is to act as a negotiator and try to assist the parties to come to a final agreement on any outstanding issues short of going to court.
Arbitration is similar to mediation in that a third party called an “arbitrator” is selected by the parties to preside over their case instead of going to court. It differs from mediation in that the parties agree beforehand that the arbitrator will make a final decision on the issues in dispute which they agree to be bound by. An arbitrator’s decision can be enforced in the same way as a court order.
Max Blitt has vast experience representing parties to mediations and arbitrations and has conducted numerous mediations as a Court Appointed Dispute Resolution Officer (QBAB) for the province of Alberta.