Why do I want to go to family court?

2. Get help from a family law professional

In family law you must think about using (ADR) or a family dispute resolution process to resolve your issues out of court if it’s suitable for you. ADR might not be right for you if:

  • one person is afraid of another person because there is a history of family violence 
  • there are serious mental health or drug abuse issues

A family law professional may be able to help you resolve your issues out of court. They are people who are trained to help you reach an agreement or make a decision for you by using an ADR process.

These processes include:

Deciding which process is best for you depends on the facts of your situation and what you want. For example, a mediator doesn’t make decisions for you, but an arbitrator does.

Many people chose ADR because you can control the process more than going to court. For example, you can decide:

  • The type of family law professional that you want to use.
  • What timeline fits your schedule. For example, you may choose to meet with a mediator who is available in the evenings so that you can meet with them after work.
  • How your lawyers, if any, are involved.
  • Who pays for the costs.

ADR can sometimes work better than going to court because:

  • it can be faster
  • it can be cheaper
  • it can be less stressful
  • it is more private than going to court

Each family court location in Ontario offers subsidized mediation services. 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’re already in court, you can get up to 2 hours of mediation for free at the court.

You can also find mediators who offer their services at lower rates through JusticeNet. JusticeNet is a not-for-profit that helps people in Ontario whose income is too high to get legal aid and too low to afford standard legal fees.

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