When clients' relationships end they sometimes can't work out an amicable settlement.
Sometimes they have to resort to a litigation process, either by way of a court process or engaging in arbitration. In Ontario, a court process is commenced and prosecuted either before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (if there are property issues involved) or the Ontario Court of Justice (if for example, the only issues involve custody, access or support claims).
A court process will involve the exchange of formal pleadings and financial disclosure, the attendance of clients at a number of mandatory court attendances, including various conferences which will be held before a presiding judge, possible attendance at motions, and-if settlement cannot be arrived at-the hearing of a trial to allow a trial judge to finally rule of the court process and bring it to an end at that jurisdiction.
A court process is expensive and time consuming. Mervyn is more than aware of this from his years in court representing clients. As so, while Mervyn regularly represents clients in court processes, it is because they are expensive and time consuming, that Mervyn always recommends to clients that they try and negotiate an amicable settlement of the issues that have arisen as a result of their relationships ending before a court process is contemplated; and if one has begun, Mervyn works tirelessly for his clients to try and get a settlement of their court process at the earliest stage possible in the court process.
However, when a settlement cannot be arrived at, Mervyn will represent his clients to trial; and if one is required, an appeal. Another way of arriving at a settlement for clients is to engage in mediation, a process of alternative dispute resolution which Mervyn regularly engages in on behalf of his clients and which he regularly recommends to clients. While Mervyn recommends to clients that they try to resolve disputes with the assistance of lawyers, sometimes the services of a neutral third party mediator is required; and it is under those circumstances, when Mervyn will recommend to clients that they retain the services of a mediator, such as another senior family law lawyer, or a former judge, to work to try and bridge disputes between clients and their partners to-if at all possible-arrive at a settlement and avoid expending further time and money.
Finally, clients can also have disputes with their partners resolved through arbitration, which is a form of alternative dispute resolution, which can best be described as a form of private court process. Arbitration is performed by privately retained family law arbitrators who are required to hold certain qualifications in Ontario to act, and who are able to hear clients' disputes and resolve them through decisions which can be enforced in the courts in Ontario. Arbitrations can be held on relatively short notice, require none of the mandatory steps that Ontario's courts require-such as multiple conference attendance-and can be structured by the presiding arbitrator to proceed in an expeditious and cost-efficient manner. Mervyn regularly recommends arbitration to clients