Lawyers prefer to use alternative dispute resolution processes in family law, which cost the client less, take less time and make for longer-lasting co-operation between the parties after the fact, according to a recent study.
The study asked family lawyers to evaluate their experience using collaborative settlement processes, mediation, arbitration and litigation. More than 90 per cent said they preferred to resolve family law disputes through collaborative processes whenever possible and 94 per cent said their clients were satisfied with the outcomes when doing so.
The study — “An Evaluation of the Cost of Family Law Disputes: Measuring the Cost Implication of Various Dispute Resolution Methods” — is based on findings from a survey of 166 family lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. It also found that collaborative processes cut the client’s legal fees in half. To resolve a low-conflict dispute through collaborative settlement cost $6,269 on average, while litigation would have averaged $12,400. The same went for high-conflict disputes, which average $25,110 and $54,000 for collaboration and litigation, respectively.