Collaboration | Mediation | Arbitration

There are many roads to resolving family law matters. The most conventional and well-known is by trial in a court of law. Going to court can be daunting due to its procedures, rules and expense. Some couples can, with legal assistance, solve their family law matters without going to court. Our team starts with a more cost-effective route using negotiations to achieve your goals starting from the beginning of our engagement.

As your matter evolves, and perhaps escalates or plateaus in making progress, we often recommend deploying other alternative dispute resolution strategies such as collaborative divorce, mediation or arbitration. These remedies are distinctly different and are recommended for deployment under specific circumstances. We can help you determine the best course of action towards resolution.

Collaborative law is a highly effective method and requires both parties to agree to a “Participation Agreement” that includes staying out of court and committing to using a variety of professionals to assist in coming to an agreement.

Family or divorce mediation involves a subject-matter expert third party to facilitate agreement amongst the two parties. Mediation is most often attended by lawyers with their clients. On signing details of a mediated agreement, it becomes binding.

Arbitration results in a formal legally binding decision by an arbitrator following a hearing of both parties.

Questions? Just Ask!

Occasionally, resolving your matter by trial and going to court remains the best option. This might be due to a number of factors but is often due to the nature of the issues and the parties involved. Trials and hearings are adversarial in nature and while sometimes necessary to resolve family disputes, they can increase strife between couples or parents and cause harm to children. Court proceedings and various pieces of legislation applicable to family law issues – provincially and federally – can make the process overwhelming. For instance, applicable provincial legislation includes the Family Law Act, the Child, Infants Act, Family and Community Service Act, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act, Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act and Adult Guardianship Act.

We help clients navigate a process to resolution whether that is in a court system or an alternative dispute resolution format most appropriate to meet your legal needs. We identify the issues requiring resolution and then strategize your best options.

In this province, the Provincial Court of British Columbia-Family and the Supreme Court of British Columbia hear family law matters. Both Courts can give orders related to: child and spousal support; guardianship; parenting arrangements, parental responsibilities and parenting time; child contact; property protection or allowing you to stay in the family home; family law protection; setting aside or enforcing agreements dealing with guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact with a child or spousal and/or child support; relocation (moving with or without a child); and, to determine a child’s father,

The Supreme Court is the only court that can give orders related to divorces or annulments; division of property, debts, RRSPs, RESPs and pensions; setting aside or enforcing an agreement dealing with property and debt; parentage orders related to disputes on a child conceived via assisted reproduction; appointments of trustees of children’s property and arranging adoptions.

It is important that only one court is requested to deal with an issue. This ensures parties avoid the temptation of seeking a more favourable result.

We know how to best utilize the courts to your advantage. We understand the Rules of Court, the procedures and the differences between how these Courts operate, the paperwork they require, the filing fee costs and what they can award. We can advise you on which court is most effective for your unique family law issues. Sometimes it can be advantageous to use both courts, to address separate issues, to save time and money. We guide our clients from the initial court appearance and Family Management Conference with the judge to work through and identify unresolved issues and possibilities for agreement and, if needed, to help the parties prepare for and successfully move through the trial. We work together with you and your family to see the process through to effective resolution so you can move on with your life.

KERFOOT BURROUGHS LLP

400-1401 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6H 1H6

Phone: 604.263.2565

Fax: 604.263.2737

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