Arbitrators are usually lawyers, child psychologists, or former judges who act as neutral decision makers for those who cannot reach the right outcome on their own situation. Unlike mediators, arbitrators have the right to make binding decisions for both parties when they agree to arbitration proceedings. The arbitrator’s award is final and must be observed by both parties except in certain circumstances
Lawyers may turn people over to arbitrators because they cannot negotiate a solution to one or more problems. For example, you may have agreed to pay alimony to your spouse, but not how much or how long. If you and your spouse agree, you can ask the arbitrator to make a decision for you
The arbitrator’s fee is usually shared by you and another person. Before meeting the arbitrators, each of you should talk to your lawyer
Family arbitrators must make decisions in accordance with Canadian law for their decisions to be effective, and they must be trained in family law and domestic violence. You and your spouse must agree to arbitration when the problem arises, rather than in a marriage or cohabitation agreement a few years in advance. Likewise, you and your spouse must get advice from your own lawyer before starting arbitration proceedings.
The Ontario ADR studies all a list of arbitrators recognized by the organization, many of whom have experience in arbitrating family disputes. This directory is located at:
If you want to find a lawyer to help you solve your family law problems, find someone with family law work experience. You can know the lawyer’s name through friends or relatives. You can call the Law Association for referral services of Canadas lawyers and get the name of a lawyer who will give you half an hour’s advice free of charge (page 52). If your income is low, or you are receiving social assistance, you may be eligible for legal aid. Legal aid can help you pay some or all of your legal fees. The toll free number for Ontario legal aid is 1 -. If you apply for legal aid, you must provide proof of your income. If you work, you may have to agree to repay some or all of your attorney’s fees
Your lawyer can tell you about the law or talk to you about services in the community that may help you. Your conversation with the lawyer is confidential. Without your permission, your lawyer can’t talk to others about what you said. If you are not satisfied with the way your lawyer handles your case, you have the right to say so. Talk to your lawyer.