When it comes to the family law justice system in Ontario, the role of a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) is crucial. These officers serve as the first neutral point of contact for parties involved in Motions to Changes and Applications family law cases. DROs assist and facilitate parties in settlement of some or all of the issues in dispute, including assisting parties with disclosure obligations. For those cases which are not settled, the DRO, works with counsel and self-represented parties in making the file “judge ready” for the next step in the matter. On September 27, the Superior Court of Justice held mandatory training for newly appointed DROs in Ontario. Cheryl Goldhart, a founding member of the DRO program in Toronto, played a pivotal role in this training session.
A Brief History of the Dispute Resolutions Officers Program
The DRO program was initiated in Toronto around 1996, with Cheryl Goldhart being one of its founding members. She co-led and managed the program until its expansion to regions outside of Toronto. Now, the program is managed by the Ministry of the Attorney General. DROs are appointed by the Regional Senior Judge in each Ontario region that has a DRO program. More information on the Dispute Resolution Officer Program can be found here.
Role of Dispute Resolutions Officers
- Neutral Evaluation: DROs offer a neutral evaluation of the case at hand.
- Conflict Resolution: They assist in settling some or all issues in the case.
- Case Preparation: DROs make the case ‘judge-ready’ if the matter continues to be contested.
Cheryl’s Contributions on September 27
Cheryl Goldhart provided invaluable practical guidance aimed at making DRO hearings as effective as possible. This comes as the program is set to roll out to new centers across Ontario. Her nearly four decades of experience in family law and alternative dispute resolution services made her the ideal leader for this role.
Key Takeaways from the Training
- Efficiency: How to streamline the DRO process for maximum effectiveness.
- Communication: Best practices for facilitating open dialogue between parties.
- Legal Preparedness: Tips on making the case ‘judge-ready.’
Why Cheryl’s Role is Significant
Cheryl’s contributions are not just a testament to her expertise but also her commitment to enhancing Ontario’s family law justice system. She is a Certified Family Law Specialist, an Accredited Family Mediator by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation, and a Designated ADR Professional by the ADR Institute of Ontario. Her guidance is instrumental in shaping the future DROs who will be serving the Ontario community.
Cheryl’s practical guidance is set to make a lasting impact as the DRO program expands to new centers in Ontario. With leaders like Cheryl at the helm, the future of family law justice in Ontario looks promising.
For more information on Cheryl Goldhart and the services she provides, visit Goldhart Mediation & Arbitration.
Let’s continue to elevate the practice of family law in Ontario!