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family disputes, dispute resolution, family law


This article is published in Family Court Review, v. 47, no. 3, July 2009. Upon publication the definitive version will be available at


Over the past two decades, there has been a paradigm shift in the way the legal system handles most family disputes – particularly disputes involving children. This paradigm shift has replaced the law-oriented and judge-focused model of adjudication with a more collaborative, interdisciplinary and forward-looking family dispute resolution regime. It has also transformed the practice of family law and fundamentally altered the way in which disputing families interact with the legal system. This essay examines the elements of this paradigm shift in family dispute resolution and explores the opportunities and challenges it offers for families, children and the legal system.


Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | Family Law

Recommended Citation

47 Family Court Review 363 (2009).