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Another way of dealing with a dispute outside court is arbitration. An arbitrator is an independent person who the parties have agreed can hear and provide a resolution for their dispute. Under recent changes to The Arbitration Act and the Family Arbitration Regulation, a family arbitrator must be a practising lawyer and have practised law for at least 10 years, with family law as their primary area of practice.

The arbitration process is similar to court, but simpler and less formal. Parties pay for the cost of arbitration themselves.  The Arbitration Act includes specific rules about family law arbitrations.  Family arbitration awards that are made under the Act are enforceable in the same way as court orders.

What can I expect during Arbitration?

In many instances, mediation is used to help parties resolve their matters. When that is not possible, they may choose to appoint a trained professional to make a binding arbitral decision. Families will have the dual advantages of having their own legal advice and the knowledge that they are collaboratively appointing a decision maker who is neutral, experienced, and well trained. Families can also be comforted by the fact that the decision making process is one that they helped create to suit the needs of their own family in a confidential manner consistent with the law in Manitoba. The process is often less formal, faster, private and may be less expensive than than certain Court processes.

How can I find an Arbitrator?

ADR Institute of Manitoba

The ADR Institute of Manitoba (ADRIM) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization which provides the public with access to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) through arbitration, mediation and other methods, and acts as a regional centre of ADR information, education and research.

To learn more visit the ADRIM website

FAMLI Manitoba

The Family Arbitration Mediation Legal Institute, or FAMLI, is a new association of lawyers and other professionals dedicated to helping individuals and families resolve their family law disputes outside of the court system through mediation and/or arbitration.

To learn more visit the FAMIL Manitoba website