When partners separate, there are many issues that must be resolved. For example, parenting time and decision-making, child and spousal support, and property division are all things that need to be decided on. There are two ways separating couples can resolve these issues; the parties can come to an agreement, or they can ask the court to decide.
Exclusively in Prince Albert (effective January 1, 2020) and Regina (effective March 1, 2021) until further notice – most family law matters that come to family court will be required to attempt a family dispute resolution process before they will be able to continue with any further court proceedings. People can apply for an exemption if there has been interpersonal violence, a parent has abducted a child from the other parent, or there is some other urgency.
There are a number of early family dispute resolution process options that are available; a short description of the options is listed below. You can find more detailed information on each one by visiting the relevant page.
It is recommended that you ask prospective service providers how their process of dispute resolution works, how they expect you to participate, and what the cost of the service will be. Low-income options will be available for families who are required to participate in early dispute resolution where deemed necessary.
Families across the province are welcome to pursue family dispute resolution independently, as an alternative to traditional court proceedings.
Contact lists are available for recognized family arbitrators, parenting coordinators and family mediators. You can also contact Collaborative Law Saskatchewan, or see their directory.
Collaborative Law Process: The goal of Collaborative Professionals of Saskatchewan Inc. is to develop awareness of and facilitate access to the collaborative process for residents of Saskatchewan. Collaborative law involves parties and their lawyers working together and negotiating in good faith to reach a settlement on all issues.
Family Arbitration: A family law arbitrator plays a role similar to that of a judge. They are able to make binding decisions to resolve family law disputes using processes that are more informal than the court's. Family law arbitrators use Saskatchewan family law to make decisions. Sometimes arbitrators use a combination of different dispute resolution processes, including negotiation, mediation and arbitration.
Family Mediation: Family mediators help parties resolve family issues and find solutions through an interest-based problem solving process.
Parenting Coordination: Parenting coordinators can help parties resolve disputes over existing agreements and orders, such as who has parenting time during summer holidays. Parenting coordinators are knowledgeable about children's developmental stages and mental health, and help parents focus on their children's needs while resolving disputes. Parenting coordinators do not create or change parenting arrangements.