Divorce does not end families; it reconstitutes them. When a marriage is deconstructed, a new-post divorce life should be reconstructed. The better the planning and cooperation, the smoother the transition will be.
There are a number of paths couples can choose when deciding to separate, divorce or prepare for their post- divorce lives. The most popular, which is also the most emotionally charged option, is litigation. This involves significant court intervention, with each party being represented by a litigation attorney. During this process, the parties may attempt to resolve disputes between themselves, but often it is the attorneys who “represent” the party’s position. When the parties and divorce lawyers cannot resolve an issue, then there is a hearing before the judge assigned to the case. It is the judge who will listen to the arguments of each attorney and thereafter make the decision for the parties. As a result, in a court system that has many more cases than resources to address the numerous family cases , it can often seem to be a cold, unsatisfying method of dispute resolution. Furthermore, there are tightly prescribed rules of court procedure and evidence that each attorney must apply to a legal proceeding, so the presentation of a party’s position does not necessarily lead to a clear path of resolution. Yet, however difficult as the litigation process may seem, if each party is represented by reasonable attorneys who can work together to resolve most matters outside of the court system, the litigation process is much less stressful.
There are a few viable alternatives to resolve disputes that many divorcing couples prefer, as it gives them more control over the result because they jointly make the decisions for their families and for themselves. In Ontario, each of the alternatives can only achieve a successful result if the parties are willing to work with each other to compromise and create solutions and the professionals involved are adequately trained in the chosen alternative dispute resolution process.