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Family Law – Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution

We all know that the court process can be costly and time consuming. It also can, more often than not, damage and irreparably fracture a relationship. This is the reason why people tend to seek other alternatives to resolve their issues without going through the court’s intervention.

As the name connotes, alternative dispute resolution is an alternative to the court process. It aims to assist parties to resolve their dispute without the need to go to a hearing. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process can assist parties to achieve better resolutions, maintain a harmonious relationship (this is significantly important in a parent-child relationship), and diminish the delay and legal expenses.

Advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Opportunity to settle the parties’ dispute without going to court;
  • Decisions are made by the parties;
  • Less formal;
  • Less stressful;
  • Negotiation is done privately;
  • Less expensive;
  • An opportunity for parties to express one’s point of view and for both parties to come to a mutual agreement;
  • The relationship tends to work better because the communication is open.

Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services

The Family Court offers an array of ADR including counselling, mediation and conciliation. The purpose of ADR is to assist parties to resolve their disputes before going to court. Many matters can be resolved through adept negotiation and does not require the intervention of the Court.


It refers to a wide range of processes designed to assist parties to solve personal and interpersonal issues and problems. In fact, it is a requirement for parties to attend family dispute resolution and make a genuine attempt to resolve their disputes prior to commencing court proceedings in respect of a parenting matter.


Mediation is a process in which the parties to a dispute, with the assistance of a dispute resolution practitioner, pin-point and analyse the disputed issues, foster options, formulate alternatives and aim to obtain an agreement.

The mediator, who aids the dispute resolution, has no absolute role in regard to the outcome of its resolution, but may give advice or select the process of mediation in which resolution is attempted. Mediation may be done voluntarily, under a court order, or subject to an existing contractual agreement.


Similarly to mediation, conciliation involves the intervention of a third party, namely the Conciliator. The conciliation will assist the parties to identify the issues in dispute and develop options. Unlike a mediator however, the conciliator can provide expert advice.

ADR has been increasingly used during the past years and is considered as an important part of the justice system. It is fast becoming a choice to those who would like to settle disputes privately and cost efficiently. It also brings greater satisfaction to both parties, for it allows the resolution to address deeper issues that has the possibility of being excluded in the court.

In order to obtain a better understanding of ADR, you should seek advice from our Family Law Solicitors who can assist you in determining the most appropriate form of ADR.

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