Resolution Options

What is “Resolution”?

Resolution refers to the process of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement or settlement in legal matters, ideally without the need for any court involvement.

It provides an opportunity for parties to actively participate in decision-making and maintain a sense of control over the outcome. Opting for alternative approaches to resolve legal issues can often result in reduced costs, shorter timelines, and a more cooperative atmosphere compared to traditional litigation.

Resolution Options: Finding the Right Path to Resolve Your Legal Matters

At Chapman Steffler LLP, we offer a range of resolution options to meet your specific needs:

  1. Negotiation: Our skilled negotiators can engage in discussions with the opposing party or opposing lawyer to reach a fair and amicable resolution. We work to reach an agreement that answers your concerns and upholds your rights through honest discussion and creative dispute resolution.
  2. Mediation: In mediation, the parties’ discussions are facilitated by a professional, impartial third party. Our skilled mediators can assist you throughout the procedure, assisting you to reach an amicable resolution by assisting you in finding common ground.
  3. Litigation: In some cases, litigation becomes necessary to protect your rights and interests. If litigation is the best option for your situation, our experienced lawyers will provide strong representation in court, advocating for your rights and ensuring a fair resolution.

With our in-depth knowledge and extensive experience in family law matters, we provide comprehensive legal advice, support, and representation at every stage of the resolution process.

What is a Limited Scope Retainer? How does it work?

Generally, if you and your spouse have hired lawyers to help you work out a separation agreement, one of the first steps will be to exchange information about your finances, so that you can properly deal with support and property issues.


After exchanging this information, you will work with your lawyers to negotiate the terms of an agreement. This may be done through virtual or in-person meetings between both spouses and both lawyers, through correspondence (letters, emails, and phone calls), or a combination of both.

Once there is a consensus on what the terms of an agreement are, the lawyers will draft a separation agreement documenting those terms, for the parties to sign. Once fully-signed, the separation agreement becomes a binding contract.

Expert Guidance & Advocacy

At Chapman Steffler LLP, our goal is to provide you with expert guidance, personalized advice, and strong advocacy to help you achieve a favorable resolution. We will take the time to understand your unique circumstances, explain the available options, and guide you towards the most suitable resolution path.


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The main options for resolving a family law matter are:

  1. A “kitchen table agreement”;
  2. Mediation;
  3. Negotiating a separation agreement through lawyers; and
  4. Litigation (i.e., court).

As the name suggests, a “kitchen table agreement” is an agreement reached directly between spouses, by sitting down together and discussing how they want to resolve the issues arising from their separation (i.e., what will the parenting arrangements be, what will be paid for support, how will property be divided). This can be a useful and cost-effective option if the separation is relatively amicable and the parties are able to work cooperatively and discuss their issues respectfully.

However, both spouses should obtain independent legal advice before signing any agreement.

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps separating or divorcing couples resolve disputes outside of court.

If mediation is successful, the mediator prepares a mediation report, which sets out the terms the parties have agreed upon. The mediation report is non-binding, but can be incorporated into a binding separation agreement. 

The Family Court process involves many procedural steps and usually multiple court appearances for conferences and motions. At some of these appearances, a judge will listen to the parties’ positions on whatever issues are in dispute and make recommendations to encourage settlement; at others, a judge may make a temporary decision to resolve specific issues.

If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, a trial may need to be held, following which a judge will make a final, binding decision.

The two terms are generally synonymous. The only significant difference is that “settlement” generally refers to some form of agreement or voluntary resolution of a case, whereas not all forms of “resolution” are voluntary.

For example, a final order made by a judge following a trial and an arbitration award made by an arbitrator are both forms of resolution, but they are not voluntary, as the parties do not have to agree with the decision made for it to be binding.

Which path to resolution is best in any particular case depends on the parties and issues involved in that case. In general, the more cooperative processes (i.e., negotiation, mediation) are quicker and less costly than litigation or arbitration, but they require both parties to participate in settlement discussions and make reasonable compromises.

In some cases, parties are simply unable to find common ground and need a judge or arbitrator to break the stalemate. We strive to help all clients find the most time- and cost-effective path to resolution.