For most First Nations, family law and matrimonial property issues are typically resolved through traditional dispute resolution processes involving family members, elders, or dispute resolution committee members.

Whenever possible, resolving separation issues through traditional means is greatly encouraged. “Going to court” should be considered as a measure to be used when all else fails.

MNCFN is incorporating:

Family Meeting

Consistent with the legal traditions, customs and practices of most First Nations, one option is to convene a meeting of family members to assist them in concluding a separation agreement. Family Meeting means a meeting convened with family members of the spouses chosen by each spouse who will assist in determining the issues relation to the separation, including any interest in MNCFN land. If the meetings are successful, a separation agreement is made in writing, signed by the parties and witnessed. The provisions in the separation agreement with respect to an interest in MNCFN land, including an interest that is the matrimonial home, would need to be provided to the Council, or its designate, to ensure the agreement is implemented pursuant to the laws and policies of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Mediation

If the couple is unable to conclude a separation agreement with the assistance of family members, the couple can usually elect to seek the assistance of a mediator; in some jurisdictions, mediation is required. “Mediator” means a qualified mediator listed with the Council or designates.

Usually, either spouse may commence mediation with respect to his or her rights and interests in MNCFN land, by providing notice in the designated form to Council and to the other spouse. The spouses then select a mediator jointly from a list provided by Council and schedule the mediation proceedings.

As soon as possible after a mediator has been appointed, the mediator meets with the spouses to explain the mediation process and provides an initial assessment of the parties’ suitability for mediation. This will include a recommendation that the spouses obtain independent legal advice. Spouses have a duty to attend the meetings with the mediator.