Alternate Dispute Resolution & the Benefits of Mediation

Ask a Family Lawyer: Alternate Dispute Resolution & the Benefits of Mediation 

Mat Wirove, an accredited family law mediator and arbitrator at Crossroads Law, discusses alternate dispute resolution and the benefits of mediation for your family law matter.


The court is not the place to resolve every conflict. Many people find that after a lengthy and expensive court battle, not everything is resolved. From those that are stuck at an impasse to those who just want an impartial third party, mediation is a great option that can provide a lot of benefits.

Hi, I’m Mat Wirove, a family lawyer and accredited mediator with Crossroads Law in Calgary.

Chances are, you or someone you know has had experience with the family law court system. We get a lot of questions here at Crossroads Law so we developed “Ask a Family Lawyer” to get those answers to you.

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One question that comes up is, what are the benefits of having a family law lawyer as my mediator?

There are many benefits of mediation: it saves time and money, allows for win-win situations, allows for more creativity in resolutions that fit each family, it encourages and allows for healing, gives both parties an opportunity to be heard, assists in developing a continued relationship, and actually shows the parties that they can overcome conflict.

If you choose a family lawyer as your mediator, you add to this long list of benefits. While we cannot give legal advice as a mediator, our family law background allows us to provide an evaluative analysis of the situation. Then when the mediation has been successful, we can draft the separation agreement, which is still subject to independent legal advice, but it does make the whole process more affordable.

There are various kinds of alternative dispute resolution options otherwise known as ADR. So how does mediation compare to collaborative law or negotiation through counsel?

Alternative dispute resolution, whichever form you take, should likely be your first choice for dispute resolution. The last place you want to end up is in the court system, particularly with family law issues. Arbitration is different from mediation because your arbitrator actually has binding decision powers. It’s treated more like court where if you can’t agree the arbitrator will decide for you.

Negotiation between your counsel is another effective option however, it could lead to the parties becoming entrenched in their positions. Having an impartial third party can assist to overcoming those impasses as you go.

Collaborative divorce is another great option. There the parties counsel promise to work together to come to a resolution. With the right counsel who are properly trained in collaborative process are used, it can amicably resolve conflicts. However, the process can take a lot longer, and if impasses do arrive then both parties have to start over with new counsel.

Mediation is a great choice because it has parts of all the dispute resolution processes benefits. The parties and their counsel work amicably to resolve their issues in a way that works for each individual family, plus there is an impartial third party to assist overcoming any deadlocks. It is generally faster and more cost effective as well.

After years of practicing a family law, I decided to become an accredited mediator because I’m passionate about advocacy and assisting families resolve conflicts in a way that will result in long lasting and beneficial agreements. With my experience in court, I knew there had to be a better way. Mediation is a cost effective and collaborative approach that allows you to do just that.

Personally, I take a rational, logical approach to my mediation and I would describe my style as more directive. I take pride in being open and honest and I believe that a more direct and informed approach helps parties reach a resolution.

I hope you found this video to be useful and informative. The family law mediators at Crossroads Law are here to help so go to to book an appointment today.

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