ADR, acronym for Alternative Dispute Resolution, refers to a group of methods used to try to settle legal disputes. In family law, mediation and arbitration are two commonly used ADR avenues for settling disputes arising from breakdown of the relationship.
Mediation is a voluntary process that is less formal and usually less expensive than court.
It involves a mediator who helps both parties to reach an agreement. Both parties must agree to participate.
Collaborative Law is a more recently developed ADR method that is gaining popularity amongst family law lawyers and couples.
Collaborative family law is another way for parties to resolve their disputes respectfully, through negotiations, and without commencing court proceeding.
It is different from traditional negotiations where the lawyers represent each client and conduct the negotiations on their behalf. In Collaborative Family Law, you and your former partner negotiate rather than having your lawyer negotiate for you.
Court is not an option for lawyers who participate in collaborative family law negotiations. Should negotiations break down, and your former partner decide to commence court proceedings, the lawyers or their firms can represent you in court.