Consensual Dispute Resolution

Last updated on June 26, 2024

If you're thinking about going to court, consensual dispute resolution (CDR) is often a good place to start. 

CDR is a process where a third party helps people resolve an issue together. It includes mediation, facilitated negotiation with a child support officer, or the collaborative law process. It doesn’t always require meeting in the same room.

People can use CDR to reach their own agreement instead of having a judge decide for them. Even if you can't agree, CDR may help you to be better prepared for court.

In provincial court locations designated as early resolution registries, you must complete one CDR session, if appropriate, before filing an application about a family law matter. For more information, see Going to Provincial Court and Early Resolution Process.

CDR services for Provincial Court family law matters are free at Family Justice Centres and Justice Access Centres throughout the province. Mediation services are provided by family justice counsellors.

Child support officers can help with negotiating child support and spousal support. If you reach an agreement, they can both help with putting it into writing or changing existing court orders.

For CDR about the division of property and debt, you have to hire a private mediator or a collaborative family lawyer. These matters are also not in the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court.  For more information about these CDR services, please see Mediators and What is "collaborative family law"? in the Who Can Help section.