2. Get help from a family law professional

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Family Law - Property and debts ‑ married couples
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General

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We're married. What if we can't agree on what happens to our property and debts after we separate or divorce?
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2. Get help from a family law professional

You and your partner cannot use an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process unless both of you agree to use it. You must also agree on the details of the process. This includes:

  • which type of family law professional will help you resolve your issues
  • how your lawyers, if any, will be involved
  • who will pay for the costs
  • when you will do it

If you and your partner agree on the details of the ADR process, put your agreement in writing before you start. This document can be called a participation agreement, arbitration agreement, or agreement to mediate.

The agreement might include:

  • the role of the family law professional who is helping you resolve your dispute
  • how your lawyers, if any, will be involved
  • the issues to be decided
  • how to exchange documents
  • how to end the process
  • who will pay

The family law professional who is helping you usually drafts the agreement and includes details about you, your partner, and your issues.

Before signing the agreement:

  • Review it carefully. If you have a lawyer, you should have them review it as well.
  • Make sure that it includes all the important details about the process.
  • Ask any questions you have.
  • Make sure that you understand it.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution Ontario
Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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