December 05, 2019

Dispute Resolution Requirement For Separation And Divorce Introduced In Prince Albert

The Government of Saskatchewan will begin implementing mandatory early family dispute resolution in separation and divorce proceedings in the new year, starting with Prince Albert on January 1.

Family dispute resolution includes a range of options that may be used to resolve family law issues as an alternative to going through costly court proceedings.  The majority of family law matters will be required to go through an early family dispute resolution process before moving ahead with court proceedings.  Exemptions will exist for matters in which interpersonal violence, child abduction and other extraordinary circumstances are a concern.

“Implementation of the mandatory early family dispute resolution process will begin in Prince Albert, and will be expanded to the rest of the province at a later date,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said.  “Our hope is that this provides a more cost-effective, less stressful avenue for parents to resolve their issues, resulting in less conflict and better outcomes for families and children.”

Prince Albert was chosen for the initial launch site as a result of discussions with the judiciary, and the desire to implement the change in a smaller centre before putting it in place across the rest of the province.

Family dispute resolution options include collaborative law services, family law arbitration, family mediation, and parent co-ordination.  A list of recognized service providers can be found at www.saskatchewan.ca/earlyfamilyresolution.

Low-income options are available in circumstances where other options represent a significant financial burden.

Government consulted with legal professionals, dispute resolution service providers and other stakeholders in 2017, and received positive feedback regarding early dispute resolution as an alternative to court.  The CREATE Justice group at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law also conducted a public survey that showed strong support for early dispute resolution.

For more information, call 1-833-787-0439, email earlyfamilyresolution@gov.sk.ca, or visit www.saskatchewan.ca/earlyfamilyresolution.