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Common Questions About Divorce Arbitration

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Arbitration

Arbitration is the practice of dispute resolution. During arbitration, each party tells their side of the dispute to the arbitrator and requests a resolution. Both parties may support their cases with witnesses and documents and make arguments. Then, an impartial third party determines a dispute in a private and judicial manner.

Arbitrators reach fair resolutions for family law disputes, such as support and custody of children. A single arbitrator or a tribunal, which can include of any number of arbitrators, may participate in an arbitration hearing. The procedure must be fair and take into consideration the best interests of children, if they are involved.

Following are some commonly asked questions about divorce arbitration that we often receive from clients.

Is an arbitration resolution legally binding?

Yes. An arbitration award rendered in an arbitration process is legally binding on both parties pursuant to the Arbitration Act. An arbitration award can be converted into an Order of the Court of Queen’s Bench and enforced in the same manner as a Judgment rendered at trial.

How Long Does Arbitration Take?

The length of an arbitration varies depending on the availability of the parties, the arbitrator and any legal counsel involved, the number and complexity of the issues requiring resolution and the number of witnesses involved in the arbitration hearing.

Typically an arbitration lasts between one and ten days. An arbitration award (the binding decision rendered by the arbitrator) is rendered within one month of the conclusion of the arbitration hearing.

Is Divorce Arbitration Private And Confidential?

Yes. Arbitration sessions are private, as are the communications, documentation and notes made in the course of arbitration. Litigation involves public court appearances, documentation and evidence — all of which are matters of public record, accessible by anyone.

The only time an arbitration award will become public is if it needs to be turned into a court order for it to be enforced.  In that case, it is possible that the arbitration award will become part of a public court file but the particulars of an arbitration would only ever become part of a public court file in the event that parties opted to have a court reporter transcribe the arbitration proceedings.  Most people choose not to have arbitration proceedings transcribed.

Your Divorce Options in Alberta

If you are facing divorce or separation, it is important that you know your options. Arbitration could be a good fit for your situation, but it is important that you carefully consider all of your options for dispute resolution to ensure you can create the best path forward. Book a complimentary consultation with our expert team to fully discuss your options, including arbitration. We can answer your questions and help you determine your next next steps.