Areas Of Focus

The New Family Law Act: Out-Of-Court Alternatives

British Columbia's new Family Law Act has changed the focus of the family law system to make alternative dispute resolution (ADR) a regular part of the process, encouraging parties to focus on out-of-court resolution before turning to litigation in our province.

At West Coast ADR Law Group, we have significant experience dealing with family disputes in the court system, and we've seen the toll litigation takes on families. We have seen that ADR is often the better choice for our clients.

We also know that ADR works in other areas of the law and across Canada. Not only have mediation and arbitration been part of commercial and labour law for many decades, but in other jurisdictions, such as Ontario and Alberta, ADR has been successfully adopted into family law.

Our lawyers, mediators and arbitrators have worked to make ADR part of British Columbia's family law practice, and have also helped to train other legal professionals in its use.

Details Of The Family Law Act Of 2013

The purpose of the FLA is to encourage couples to use methods other than litigation to solve their problems, and to put their children first. Some features of the FLA include:

  • ADR: The FLA encourages ADR, as opposed to litigation, in order to save separating couples time and money and help preserve relationships. Preserving relationships is particularly important when there are children involved in the separation.
  • Settlements: Lawyers are encouraged to promote settlements out of court throughout the case, from initial consultation to the very end. Court is seen as a last resort.
  • Children: The FLA puts more focus on children, by making the best interests of the children — not the rights of the parents — the only consideration when discussing children's issues.
  • Family violence: Lawyers are also expected to screen for domestic violence issues and power imbalance to ensure that their clients are safe and able to negotiate a fair agreement.

At West Coast ADR Law Group, we offer a number of methods of ADR, including mediation, arbitration, mediation-arbitration (referred to as med-arb) and collaborative family law.

Contact West Coast ADR Law Group

To learn more about the new Family Law Act and how it may influence your separation, contact us at 778-728-0670 or fill out our online form to set up an appointment. We serve clients in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster and surrounding areas.