Mediation and Arbitration
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
What is Mediation
Mediation involves both spouses hiring an independent and trained person to help them discuss and negotiate the issues in their case. The mediator will work with the spouses individually and together to reach an out of court settlement. They help spouses speak constructively to each other and understand the other’s situation, and will propose ideas and solutions to consider. The process is informal. As well, mediators do not make decisions and cannot force the spouses to agree. Their goal is to achieve compromise.
What is Arbitration?
Manitoba’s Arbitration Act allows spouses to hire an independent person to make decisions for them in a faster and less formal manner than going to court. It is like a private trial and the process can be as simple or as complex as the spouses want. Each spouse is given the opportunity to tell his or her side of the story and present their evidence. The Arbitrator will then make a ruling that is binding on both spouses, although it can be appealed to a Judge in certain circumstances.
Mediation has great benefits for a family. Resolving disputes outside of a courtroom tends to be less expensive, less stressful and allows litigants to maintain privacy and control of their family decisions. It only makes sense that spouses want to stay in control of their own lives and parents to stay in control of their children’s lives.
As well, the odds of preserving any sort of civil relationship between parents are slim when they have been through a lengthy, costly and contested court process. Publicly airing dirty laundry, taking extreme positions and forcing extended family members to choose sides can be emotionally damaging for the family.
Mediation also allows for flexibility and creative solutions to problems. The court’s resolutions tend to be very basic with very little detail and there are a limited number of options the court has. The resolution options for families in mediation are endless.