Family Mediation vs. Court: What’s at Stake?
3 Reasons To Settle Parental Disputes Through Family Mediation
In this blog post, we will discuss why handling a parental dispute through family mediation may be a better option than going to court.
There is a text I often refer disputing parents to that helps to illustrate the benefits of staying out of court, Tug of War: A Judge’s Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles, and the Bitter Realities of Family Court by Ontario Justice Mr. Harvey Brownstone. Brownstone has been a judge in family court for numerous years and has amassed plenty of wisdom in the process. If you’re looking to learn more about the family court process his book is a fantastic resource.
Why, you ask? To summarize, I’ve pulled 3 crucial reasons from the book that Brownstone gives on the topic:
1. Lawyer’s Fees are More Expensive than Family Mediation
This should be a no-brainer because lawyers spend a great deal of time learning the ins and outs of the law and are able to charge a great deal of money for their services as a result. Taking a parental dispute to court takes time, especially if the dispute makes it to trial. That added financial stress is not beneficial to any dispute resolution, not to mention that you may be on the hook for some of your ex-partner’s legal fees if the legal decision made paints them as the “winner” of the dispute. If possible, it is smarter for individuals to seek help through family mediation instead of going to court.
2. Courts Can Be Backlogged with Cases
Courtrooms are busy places. With a backlog of cases on a judge’s plate, it can take between a couple months to a full year to get your case in the judge’s hands. This delay in resolution is harmful not only to you and your ex-partner but to any children caught in the middle during the whole process. Court rulings do not happen overnight.
3. Your “Evidence” May be Inadmissible in Court
A judge may not consider everything you think is “evidence”. The law is chock-full of specific rules and regulations on what may be considered admissible in a court case. If a judge deems your evidence to be irrelevant, such as a character claim that does not directly apply to a parent-child relationship, it may be thrown out. This can be frustrating and requires the help of a lawyer, which again, can raise the cost of the process.
These may seem like common sense reasons to avoid litigation, but in the heat of the moment they can often be missed and further exacerbate an already stressful situation. If you would like to avoid having these happen to you, mediation may be your best alternative. In cases where mediation is possible it is not only cheaper than going to court, but results in resolutions that both parties feel comfortable with; instead of the “winner” mentality of a courtroom!
Every situation is different. This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice. Contact us for further help on your unique parental dispute.
Artwork by Megan Hewson. View her work at https://www.instagram.com/megheworiginals/