Arbitration v Collaboration
Family Law Arbitration is becoming increasingly popular as the way many separating couples select to reach a separation agreement. The big advantage Family Law Arbitration has over traditional litigation is that arbitration is fast, fair and private. In some jurisdictions, arbitration is called Private Judging. In Arbitration, you hire you own private judge rather than using the expensive and public court system.
In British Columbia, certain lawyers may become qualified under the Arbitration Act of BC to conduct family law arbitrations. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars and endless amounts of time through the court process, couples can reach the same final enforceable resolution through arbitration in a matter of weeks for a fraction of the cost. Final arbitral awards are converted into judgments just as Supreme Court decisions turn into judgments that can be enforced. Arbitrators have some of the same powers of a Supreme Court judge such as the power to subpoena a witness.
Arbitration and collaborative practice are similar in that they are both methods for separating couples to reach a final and binding resolution of all legal issues arising through their separation, without going to court.
Arbitration and collaborative practice are similar in that they are both private. That is, all discussions in arbitration and collaborative practice are confidential and will never be made public.
How does family law arbitration differ from collaborative practice?
Arbitration and litigation are similar in that in each case the parties are handing over the decision making to a third person.
In Collaborative Practice, the decision making always remains with the parties. Collaborative Practice is about building consensus. About 90% of collaborative cases reach a final resolution, and about 10% fall out of process. That is remarkable when you think about it because it means in 90% of collaborative cases, the parties reached consensus on every item and they did not need a third party to make decisions for them.
Susan Kurtz of the Collaborative Law Group of Nelson is qualified as a Family Law Arbitrator, a Mediator and a Collaborative Lawyer.