Uma Thurman and her former fiancé Arpad Busson attended a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court September 17, 2015, to determine if Mr. Busson would be given more time with the couple's daughter Rosalind (known as Luna).
Mr. Busson brought the matter before the Court because he wanted more time with three-year-old Luna, however, the parties managed to settle their dispute by working together to arrive at a parenting agreement that both parties could live with and was in Luna's best interests.
After reaching a settlement, Ms. Thurman and Mr. Busson were praised by Justice Matthew Cooper for working together and compromising to settle their matter amicably. Interestingly, if this matter were heard in Ontario, the couple would have discovered that Ontario family law similarly places a great deal of emphasis on the importance of reaching this kind of negotiated settlement.
In Ontario, family law cases are subject to a distinct set of rules that govern the procedure which parties must follow before they may go to trial. Due to the many procedural steps that Ontario couples must complete, it may take over 2 years from the initial filing date to reach a trial and the process is generally very expensive. The time and expense of going to trial is often financially prohibitive and emotionally exhausting. It is even more important to negotiating an amicable solution when a dispute involves a young child, as it did in this case, because trials have an enormous negative impact on the wellbeing of the child. For these reasons, many Ontario family law cases settle long before trial and there are a variety of measures in place to assist parties in working out a resolution.
The following are some of the ways in which Ontario family law procedures encourage resolutions prior to trial:
- Parties generally must attend a Mandatory Information Program session, which provides information regarding how matrimonial disputes impact parents and children, court process, various legal issues that may arise, alternative ways of resolving disputes outside of court, and available resources that may help parties deal with problems arising from separation;
- Parties are often required to attend a Case Conference, at which the parties speak with a judge to narrow the issues and discuss the possibility of settlement;
- Parties may also attend a Settlement Conference, at which the judge focuses on exploring how the contentious issues may be resolved and pinpointing which issues may be settled without need for further court attendances.