Ideally, parties to a separation will be able to resolve their differences by way of a negotiated settlement. This method of dispute resolution tends to have a number of benefits over litigation, inclusive of:
- Generally, negotiation tends to be less stressful than litigation;
- Generally, negotiated settlements tend to be less costly than litigation;
- Generally, negotiated settlements tend to occur more quickly than might otherwise be the case where the issues are before the courts; and
- A negotiated result is more certain than leaving the issues in a trial judge’s hands.
Fortunately, for those going through a separation, there are a variety of procedures available to assist them in the negotiation of a settlement. Parties may choose to negotiate directly or through and with the assistance of their lawyers. Mediation, a process whereby a trained mediator assists the parties in crafting an agreement, is increasingly common and popular. Family Justice Workers, who are employees of the Provincial Government, can assist parties in the negotiation and resolution of the issues (although they cannot deal with property issues).
Ultimately, whatever the method, the objective of negotiation is to reach a settlement with your spouse and to enter into a Separation Agreement.