5. Arbitrate

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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?
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5. Arbitrate

You can prepare for your arbitration by understanding what the law says you can get.

A lawyer can help you understand what you might get and what you may have to give your partner and children.

The process of arbitration can be very similar to court, or it can be simpler. You and your partner decide on the process you want and then add that to your arbitration agreement.

An arbitrator listens to both partners.

They must apply Ontario laws when deciding your issues. They can use the laws of another Canadian province or territory only if you and your partner agree to apply them. They cannot apply religious rules or laws from another country, even if you and your partner agree to them.

Share financial information

If your arbitration deals with support or dividing property, you and your partner must honestly tell the arbitrator about all your finances. This is sometimes called financial disclosure.

It is very important that you share complete and honest information. You have to give information about your income, your property, your assets, and your debts.

Your arbitration agreement can say how you will share this information. For example, you could use a computer spreadsheet that your arbitrator prepares.

You can also fill out one of the financial statement court forms. Many people use these forms in arbitration. The forms can be useful because they show you what the court would look at when deciding your support and property issues. There are 2 forms:

After the arbitrator decides

The arbitrator's decision is called a family arbitration award and is final.

If you or your partner don't agree with the family arbitration award, you can appeal to a court in some cases. You can usually appeal if you think that the arbitrator didn't apply the law correctly in your case and the court allows you to appeal. But your arbitration agreement may say that you can appeal for other reasons too.

Either partner can file the family arbitration award with the court if they want the court to help them make the other partner follow the decision.

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Ministry of the Attorney General
Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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