THE government of BC is urging the use of alternative dispute resolution professionals to diffuse the adversarial nature of family law matters and have more of them resolved outside of court.

Under the new Family Law Act, the Law Society has been given the authority to oversee the accreditation of lawyers who wish to act as family law mediators, family law arbitrators and parenting coordinators.

As of January 1, 2014, lawyers must complete the applicable hours of training in a course of study and register their training with the Law Society. Specifically, all dispute resolution professionals are required to have, as a minimum, the following:

* 14 hours of approved training in family violence, which must include skills for identifying, evaluating and managing family violence and issues of power dynamics in particular relation to the dispute resolution process

* Depending on their specific role, up to 10 years of related experience and 40 or more hours of mediation, arbitration and / or parenting coordinating training

* Sufficient training in family law