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For Consultation: Feedback Requested on Mandatory Participation in Dispute Resolution Processes Pilot Project (Edmonton Only)

Aug 1, 2018

It is in the best interests of the children that parents resolve family matters without Court intervention, wherever possible. The Court therefore wishes to implement a pilot project in Edmonton encouraging party participation in early dispute resolution processes.

As part of the pilot project, parties will be encouraged to participate in one or more early dispute resolution processes. Where parties have not participated in an early dispute resolution process, they may be required by the Court to do so.

The requirements for the proposed Edmonton pilot project are included below. Feedback on the proposed pilot project is being sought and may be provided to Family.QB@albertacourts.ca by September 30, 2018. It is anticipated that the pilot project will be implemented in January 2019 through a Notice to Profession and Public (NPP). Once implemented, the pilot project will be assessed with a view to determining whether it should continue, and be expanded to other locations throughout the province.

Proposed NPP for Mandatory Participation in Dispute Resolution Processes
Edmonton Pilot Project Requirements

  1. Where child support is the only issue:
    A self-represented party must participate in the Child Support Resolution Program before filing a child support application (see Family Practice Note 4).
  2. Where parenting is the only issue:
    A self-represented party must participate in Intake and Caseflow Conferencing, Intake and Family Mediation or private mediation with a Private Mediator from an approved mediation roster, before filing a parenting application.
  3. Where parenting and child support are both in issue:
    A self-represented party must participate in Intake and Caseflow Conferencing, Intake and Family Mediation or private mediation with a Private Mediator from an approved mediation roster, before filing a parenting and child support application. 

    * The initial focus will be on resolving the parenting issues. If the parenting issues are resolved but the child support issue is not, the parties may be encouraged to participate in another dispute resolution process, including the Child Support Resolution Program.
  4. It is anticipated that participation in one or more of the dispute resolution processes will resolve the parenting and child support issues. If a Court application is still required, a Certificate will be issued to enable parties who have participated in a dispute resolution process to file a Court application.
  5. An exemption from participation in a dispute resolution process may be provided in limited circumstances.
  6. The pilot project applies to parenting and child support under both the Family Law Act and the Divorce Act.
  7. For purposes of the proposed NPP, a Private Mediator from an approved mediator roster includes mediators that are listed on a professionally managed mediation roster with standard education and experience requirements for mediators. Private mediation rosters include those available through the Alberta Family Mediation Society and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta.