2. Agree on an arbitrator

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Family Law - Out of court options
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National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP)

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What is arbitration?
This question has an answer and 5 steps
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2. Agree on an arbitrator

You and your partner need to agree on who to hire as your arbitrator.

Your issues can help you decide who to hire. Lawyers and retired judges often arbitrate property or support related issues. Social workers and mental health professionals with special family law training often arbitrate custody and access issues.

An arbitrator doesn't work for you the way your lawyer does. Arbitrators balance your needs with your partner's needs. They don't have to keep their discussions with you private from your partner, like your lawyer does.

But you should still feel comfortable with your arbitrator. Before hiring your arbitrator see if they:

  • have experience dealing with cases like yours
  • listen to you
  • make you feel comfortable and not rushed
  • explain things in a way you can understand
  • answer your questions about the process
  • work with a disability you may have

Find an arbitrator

Family arbitrators must have special training and follow rules about family law arbitrations. Lawyer arbitrator must have special training on screening. Screening is discussed in Step 3. Non-lawyer arbitrators, who may be professionals like psychologists or social workers, must have special training on screening and in family law.

One way to find a certified family arbitrator online is through the ADR Connect link on the ADR Institute of Ontario website. Arbitrators listed here must also get at least 10 hours of extra training every two years and must have professional liability insurance. This means that they have insurance in case someone sues them for not arbitrating properly.

Your lawyer might also recommend an arbitrator.

Or you may be able to find a list of arbitrators in your community through your local Family Law Information Centre (FLIC).

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Ministry of the Attorney General
Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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