2. Choose the best ADR option for you

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Family Law - Separation and divorce
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Ontario's Family Law Limited Scope Services Project
National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP)

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Can we resolve our issues without going to court?
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2. Choose the best ADR option for you

Learning about each alternative dispute resolution (ADR) option can help you pick the one that works for your family:

Some ADR options allow you to have more control over the result. You and your partner have the most control in negotiation, collaborative family law, and mediation. This is because you don't give someone else the power to decide things for your family.

With mediation-arbitration and parenting coordination, someone else can make a final decision, usually after you and your partner have tried unsuccessfully to make an agreement. In arbitration, you agree to let an arbitrator decide for you.

You cannot use ADR to get a divorce. If you're legally married and want to end your marriage, you must apply to the court for a divorce. But you and your partner can agree to get a divorce and decide who applies to court to get the divorce.

Get help choosing an option

Your local Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) can tell you about your options and refer you to an ADR professional. There are FLIC offices in every Ontario courthouse that deals with family law. All of them have free pamphlets on topics such as separation and divorce, the court process, and family mediation.

Many FLICS have staff, called Information Referral Coordinators, who can give you information and refer you to community agencies and legal services. They can tell you about family mediation services at family court locations in Ontario where you can get up to 8 hours of mediation for a fee that is based on each person's income. You can use this service whether or not you have a court case. And if you have a court case, you can get up to 2 hours of mediation for free at the court.

Some FLICS also have lawyers, called family advice counsel, from Legal Aid Ontario who can meet with you during specific hours. Advice counsel can give you general information about your legal issues. If you're financially eligible, they may be able to give you legal advice specific to your case.

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Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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