The longer I practice family law, the more important I see alternative dispute resolution as a way to resolve differences in family law cases. Whether a couple is divorcing or deciding upon a custody and visitation arrangement for a child, the path they choose is important. Alternative dispute resolution gives people an opportunity to make a decision themselves rather than allow a third party to do so. Most cases that start down the litigation path ultimately settle out of court. So why not try that path from the beginning of the dispute?
In family law, there is no “one size fits all” approach to resolving a case, but I believe people are ultimately more satisfied with the decision made if they are actively involved in making that decision rather than abdicating this role to a judge. While we are fortunate in our areato have very good judges, by taking a case to court, you are essentially giving up your right to create the solution.
Clearly in some cases alternative dispute resolution is not a workable solution, particularly if there is abuse; however, we can make that decision together based upon a client’s objectives and the process that suits the situation best.