Mediation & Arbitration

Resolve issues out of court using family law mediation, arbitration, or both

What is Family Law Mediation?

Family law mediation is a process of resolving family law issues by agreement with the assistance of a Family Law Mediator rather than going to court.  During a family law mediation, Michael as your Mediator will assist you to identify your interests respecting the issues to be resolved with the goal of creating options and coming to a binding and enforceable Agreement on terms that are acceptable by both parties. As your Mediator, Michael does not act as a lawyer for either party. You will be encouraged during the process to get advice from a lawyer, and if you wish your lawyer may attend any mediation session.

When is mediation appropriate?

Mediation may be appropriate for anyone willing to consider making their own an Agreement to settle a dispute, rather than having a judge decide for them.  

Mediation is often less expensive and more productive than going to court. A courtroom is open to the public, but mediation is done privately. A judge in a courtroom may have had little or no family law experience as a lawyer, but Michael Eeles has over 30 years of family law experience and he is certified as a Family Law Mediator by the Law Society of British Columbia.  Michael conducts most of his mediations in his office boardroom located in the Shoal Point Building at Fisherman’s Wharf

The mediation process must be safe for everyone involved.  A Family Law Mediator is required by law to ask about any history of family violence, abuse or intimidation, and Michael will ensure that a mediation does not proceed unless safety concerns can be effectively addressed.

Where issues affecting children are the topic of a mediation, the views of the children may also be heard and considered by agreement when appropriate.

Preparing the Agreement

When issues are resolved Michael can prepare a formal Agreement which, once signed, will be legal and binding. You will be encouraged to review it with your own lawyer who will advise you about it and will sign a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice when you sign the Agreement.   The other spouse or parent will be encouraged to do the same with their own lawyer.

What is Family Law Arbitration?

Family Law Arbitration is a process of resolving family law issues privately before a Family Law Arbitrator rather than by a judge in a courtroom.  The parties and their lawyers sign an Arbitration Agreement giving the Family Law Arbitrator authority to resolve the dispute. 

During a Family Law Arbitration the parties having the dispute provide Michael with evidence bearing on each of the matters in dispute.  Each party explains what they want Michael to decide and why.  Then Michael makes a decision about each issue and prepares an Award setting out each of his decisions.  Once filed with the court, the arbitrator’s Award can be enforced like a court order.

When is arbitration appropriate?

Family Law Arbitration is appropriate for current or former spouses or partners, or parents of dependent children, who prefer to select a trained Family Law Arbitrator to privately decide a family law dispute outside of a courtroom.   Michael is an experienced family law lawyer.  A judge in a courtroom may not have had any family law experience as a lawyer.   

As your Family Law Arbitrator, Michael can hear and decide family law disputes about family property & debt, spousal support, and also child support, guardianship, parenting time and other issues respecting minor or dependent children.

The date for a family law arbitration hearing is set by the arbitrator.  Completion of the arbitration does not depend on whether time is available in a busy public courtroom where a family law case will often compete for court time with criminal and other matters.   The boardroom at Michael’s office is a comfortable setting located in the Shoal Point Building at Fisherman’s Wharf. There is plenty of paid parking available.

The arbitration process must be safe for everyone involved.  A Family Law Arbitrator is required by law to ensure the parties are screened for any history of family violence, including abuse or intimidation, and Michael will ensure that a family law arbitration does not proceed unless safety concerns can be effectively addressed.

Where issues affecting children are heard by a Family Law Arbitrator, their voices or views may be heard in an appropriate manner taking into account the best interests of the children.

The Family Law Arbitration Award

As your Family Law Arbitrator, Michael will prepare an Award setting out each of his decisions.  Once filed with the court, the arbitrator’s Award can be enforced like a court order.

What is Family Law MedArb?

Family Law MedArb is a process of resolving family law issues outside of court, and combines both Family Law Mediation and Family Law Arbitration.

During the mediation phase of the process Michael Eeles helps both of you reach an Agreement, but if you are unable to agree then he will conduct an arbitration to decide those issues.

During the arbitration phase each party provides the arbitrator with evidence bearing on the issues. Each party explains what they want the arbitrator to decide and why. Then the arbitrator makes a decision about each issue and prepares an Award setting out each of his decisions.

When is MedArb appropriate?

MedArb may be appropriate for current or former spouses, partners, or parents of minor or dependent children who would like assistance coming to an Agreement about a family law dispute, but also want to be sure that if they cannot agree then a final decision will be made for them without having to go to court.

The MedArb process must be safe for everyone involved. Family Law Mediators and Family Law Arbitrators are required by law to ask about any history of family violence, and will ensure that a MedArb does not proceed unless safety concerns can be effectively addressed.

Where a MedArb involves issues affecting children, the views of the children will be heard and taken into account when appropriate.

MedArb Agreements and Awards

When issues are resolved during a MedArb, as the mediator Michael will prepare a formal draft Agreement which you will review with your own lawyer who will advise you about it and will sign a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice when you sign the Agreement. The other spouse or parent will do the same with their own lawyer. If some issues are decided by arbitration, as the arbitrator Michael will prepare an Award setting out his decisions about each issue. Once filed with the court his Award is enforceable like a court order.

Free Consultation

As a lawyer, Michael will meet with a prospective client for 30 minutes at no charge to assess what services the client may require. After a free consultation, if you choose to retain Michael to provide legal services, then any future services provided are charged at Michael’s hourly rate.

About Michael Eeles

Michael Eeles is a Family Law Mediator and Arbitrator certified by the Law Society of British Columbia who has over 30 years of experience as a lawyer engaged in family law cases. Michael will help you and the other spouse or parent come to an Agreement that settles outstanding issues.   

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