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{{REVIEWEDPLS | reviewer = [https://www.boydarbitration.ca/ JP Boyd, QC], Boyd Arbitration Chambers|date= March 2021}} {{Dial-A-Law TOC|expanded = disputes}}
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{{REVIEWEDPLS | reviewer = [https://www.boydarbitration.ca/ JP Boyd, QC], Boyd Arbitration Chambers|date= May 2021}} {{Dial-A-Law TOC|expanded = disputes}}
 
Going to court over a family law problem can be stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Learn how to use '''mediation''', '''collaborative negotiation''', or '''arbitration''' to resolve issues without going to court.
 
Going to court over a family law problem can be stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Learn how to use '''mediation''', '''collaborative negotiation''', or '''arbitration''' to resolve issues without going to court.
    
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
|align="left"|'''Alert!'''
 
|align="left"|'''Alert!'''
This information has been updated to reflect [https://dialalaw.peopleslawschool.ca/the-divorce-act-is-changing changes to the ''Divorce Act''] that took effect on March 1, 2021.
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This information has been updated to reflect [https://dialalaw.peopleslawschool.ca/the-divorce-act-is-changing changes to the ''Divorce Act''] that took effect on March 1, 2021, as well as [https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/enews/enews-27-04-2021 new Provincial Court Family Rules] that took effect on May 17, 2021.  
 
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But most family law problems can be resolved without going to court. In fact, both the provincial ''Family Law Act'' and the federal ''Divorce Act'' '''require''' people to try to resolve their disagreements out of court. Among the approaches available are '''mediation''', '''collaborative negotiation''', and '''arbitration'''.
 
But most family law problems can be resolved without going to court. In fact, both the provincial ''Family Law Act'' and the federal ''Divorce Act'' '''require''' people to try to resolve their disagreements out of court. Among the approaches available are '''mediation''', '''collaborative negotiation''', and '''arbitration'''.
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{| class="wikitable"
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|align="left"|'''Rule changes to help parties stay out of court'''
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[https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/120_2020 Provincial Court Family Rules] that came into effect on May 17, 2021 focus on early resolution of family issues so that people don’t have to go to court. 
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===What mediation involves===  
 
===What mediation involves===  
In '''mediation''', the people in a conflict meet with a neutral person — a '''mediator''' — who helps them talk to each other and find a solution they agree on. Usually the mediator is a lawyer or another trained professional. A lawyer who works as a mediator can also offer general information about family law.
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In '''mediation''', the people in a conflict meet with a neutral person — a '''mediator''' — who helps them talk to each other and find a solution they agree on. Usually the mediator is a lawyer or another trained professional. A family lawyer who works as a mediator can also offer general information about family law.
    
Without taking sides or giving legal advice, the mediator:
 
Without taking sides or giving legal advice, the mediator:
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====Advantages of mediation====
 
====Advantages of mediation====
Mediation is '''less expensive''' than going to court. When you and your ex first contact a mediator, you’ll talk about cost and the mediation process. Mediators usually charge an hourly rate and you and your ex will usually split the cost.  
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Mediation is '''less expensive''' than going to court. You may be able to get free mediation help from a family justice counsellor (a specially trained government worker). Or you can contact a private mediator and ask about the cost and mediation process. Private mediators usually charge an hourly rate, and you and your ex will usually split the cost.  
    
Mediation can lead to a resolution '''faster''' than a court action. And it’s a '''more private''' process.
 
Mediation can lead to a resolution '''faster''' than a court action. And it’s a '''more private''' process.
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{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
|align="left"|'''Tip'''
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|align="left"|'''Consider unbundling'''
The website [https://unbundlinglaw.peopleslawschool.ca/ Unbundled Legal Services] can help you find a lawyer who will review a draft of your agreement and give you independent legal advice '''before''' you sign it.
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The website [https://unbundlinglaw.peopleslawschool.ca/ Unbundled Legal Services] can help you find a lawyer who will review a draft of your agreement and give you independent legal advice before you sign it.
 
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===How can I find a mediator?===
 
===How can I find a mediator?===
To find a family law mediator, phone the '''Lawyer Referral Service''' at 604-687-3221 in Metro Vancouver or toll-free 1-800-663-1919 elsewhere in BC, or [https://www.accessprobono.ca/our-programs/lawyer-referral-service visit their website]. A family law mediator is especially useful where the issues in dispute include how to divide up property and debts.
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It depends on what kind of mediator you are looking for.
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[https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/divorce/family-justice/who-can-help/family-justice-counsellors Family justice counsellors] are trained mediators who may be able to help at no cost. They assist people with guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact, and child or spousal support disputes. At some Provincial (Family) Court locations, meeting with a family justice counsellor is one of the first steps in the court process. Phone 604-660-2421 in the Lower Mainland, 250-387-6121 in Victoria or toll-free 1-800-663-7867 elsewhere in BC. Ask to speak with a family justice counsellor at the nearest Family Justice Centre or Justice Access Centre. You can also [https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/divorce/family-justice visit the BC government’s Family Justice website].
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'''Family Mediation Canada''' has a directory of some family mediators. Call toll-free 1-877-269-2970, or [https://www.fmc.ca/ visit their website].
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To find a private family law mediator, phone the '''Lawyer Referral Service''' at 604-687-3221 in Metro Vancouver or toll-free 1-800-663-1919 elsewhere in BC, or [https://www.accessprobono.ca/our-programs/lawyer-referral-service visit their website]. A private family law mediator is especially useful where the issues in dispute include how to divide up property and debts.
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The '''ADR Institute of BC''' keeps a list of family mediators in British Columbia. [https://adrbc.com/ Visit their website] or call toll-free 1-877-656-1300.
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'''Family Mediation Canada''' has a directory of some family mediators. Call toll-free 1-877-269-2970, or [https://www.fmc.ca/ visit their website].
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'''Mediate BC''' keeps a list of family mediators in British Columbia. [http://www.mediatebc.com/ Visit mediatebc.com] or call toll-free 1-877-656-1300.
    
Not all lawyers who are mediators are members of these groups.
 
Not all lawyers who are mediators are members of these groups.
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Family justice counsellors may be able to help at no cost. They assist people with parenting arrangements or child support disputes in Provincial Court (often called Family Court). Phone 604-660-2421 in the Lower Mainland, 250-387-6121 in Victoria or toll-free 1-800-663-7867 elsewhere in BC. Ask to speak with a family justice counsellor in the nearest Family Justice Centre. You can also [http://www.justicebc.ca/en/fam/ visit the BC government’s Family Justice website].
      
===How can I find a collaborative lawyer?===
 
===How can I find a collaborative lawyer?===
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* [[Resolving_Family_Law_Problems_out_of_Court|Visit website]]
 
* [[Resolving_Family_Law_Problems_out_of_Court|Visit website]]
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The '''Family Law website''' from Legal Aid BC has information about mediation, collaborative lawyers, and arbitration.
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The '''Family Law in BC website''' from Legal Aid BC has information about mediation, collaborative lawyers, and arbitration.
    
* [https://family.legalaid.bc.ca/visit Visit website]
 
* [https://family.legalaid.bc.ca/visit Visit website]
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