Family Mediation Articles

A Cautionary Tale From a Divorced Father: What Really Happens in Ontario Family Court

Attending court obviously does not resemble anything like one sees on the TV screen and this is even more evident when attending Family Court in Ontario Canada (and probably everywhere else).This father, who wishes to remain anonymous for the sake of his children, shares his story on how he "spent 10 years and 500k only to learn that Family Court is a total waste of money with no way to gauge the cost while there are better alternatives with which you can know the cost."

“Zealous Advocacy” can Kill: Another Child Lost a Parent to Suicide

Compelling research has long-established the irreparable damage of going to court. No one ever wins! And, no amount of court “wins” will ever compensate for the damage to families’ relationships, emotional, financial and mental health. And, yet, many family lawyers push clients into the direction of court.

How to Create a Child-Focused Parenting Plan in Mediation

In mediation, parents can discuss their shared parenting values and how best to support their children together in both homes. Unlike any other process available to separating/divorcing families, mediation allows co-parents the most control in creating a parenting plan that is unique to their children’s needs.

Separation and Children's Transitions Between Homes

When a family separates, one of the biggest adjustments is having the children transition between homes. The following are tips and resources from some of the leading child-psychologists on how to help children feel comfortable with having two places to call home.

How Divorce Affects Your Business

When a married couple separates in Ontario, they must disclose to each other the property they accumulated during the marriage. If you own a business or you're self-employed, there are extra steps you need to take in order to prepare.

Emotions Are Key in Separation

Not all legal decisions are based on law. Some are based on emotions. Emotions are key to human functioning and decision-making; they are the main ingredient in formulating and driving individual facts. In divorce or separation, it is these facts that matter most; and, they are not the same as legal rules or evidence.

Framing Mediation: Family-Centricity or Lawyer Protectionism?

The push for litigating divorce contributes to stonewalling the development of fundamental problem-solving skill-sets as well as the removing and stripping away critical elements that individuals need to resolve conflict in a healthier manner.

How Your Communication Impacts Your Child's Future Adjustment

The greater the ability of parents to share responsibilities and support one another, the better the outcomes for their children’s well-being and psychosocial adjustment.

4 Key Skills To Help in Mediation

Don’t be surprised if you feel frustrated or angry upon hearing different points of view, hearing proposals you don’t like, and having to think of alternatives. Remember that most conflicts are resolved through this process of talking and listening and creating solutions. Prepare yourself to deal with any possible difficult moments.

How To Manage Conflict: Strategies that Work

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, “interparental conflict adversely affects children’s emotional, behavioral, social, academic, and intergenerational relationship development.” It comes as no surprise that, when stressful life events, such as divorce or separation are added into the mix, managing interparental conflict can become an even more difficult task. Grounded in existing research, the strategies below can help navigate and even improve interparental conflict, especially when families experience divorce or separation.

What is Your Lawyer Telling You About Divorce and Mediation?

Divorce mediation is becoming the popular choice for families who want to save money, time and their co-parenting relationship. The reality is, that if you have children, court should be your last resort. If you hire a lawyer, will they tell you that?According to their Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers have an obligation to inform clients of the use of mediation ( or alternative dispute resolution (ADR)): “When appropriate, the lawyer should inform the client of ADR options and, if so instructed, take steps to pursue those options.”

The Cost of Going to Court: No One Wins

Lawyering up can be bad for your mental health. As a result of mass media, and TV and film in particular we have been very much conditioned as a culture to ‘lawyer up’ as soon as one partner declares the marriage isn’t working or is over. Let’s face it, the thousands of peaceful divorces that happen all the time do not make for interesting news or drama precisely because they are mostly free of any drama that can be monetized. So instead, after 5, 10, 15 or 20 plus years of marriage, many couples automatically just do as they see and move directly to their designated corner of the ring, ready to fight, determining how to prepare to sustain several rounds. According to Statistics Canada, the average duration of marriages in Canada remains steady around 14 years with 42% of the divorces occurring for marriages lasting between 10 and 24 years.

Can I do my own Separation Agreement?

Trust me: I am one of the loudest proponents of DIY, but when it comes to writing your separation own agreement, I strongly suggest you don’t!We say this all the time: “this is probably your first divorce, but for us, the number is in the thousands!” This is not to minimize your experience – divorce is hard and it has huge implications emotionally, socially and financially. With so much going on, it is understandable that you want to save time and money, and there are ways to do just that! However, writing your own separation agreement is not one of those ways! In fact, it can have the opposite effect by becoming a costly production and exposing you to potential challenges.

What’s the difference between Divorce Mediation and Divorce Litigation?

What is the difference between divorce mediation and divorce litigation, a.k.a. going to court? The difference are many and include implications with cost, time, privacy, control, resolution, and more. In this article, we break down the differences for you.

I’m ready to divorce. Now what? Four things you need to know before you hit GO

Separating is not a walk in the park. It’s more like trekking to Everest Base Camp. It takes time, physical and mental exertion and a great deal of resolve. The closer you get, the tougher it becomes and the risk of running out of oxygen increases. You need all the strategic support you can get! In the words of a Sherpa guide to Everest: “Without a Sherpa, there is no expedition.” Enough with analogies! In reality, divorce may be harder than climbing Everest! Below, you will find a list of things that should help you plan ahead. Think of this as your divorce or separation sherpa.

COVID-19: Judge Denies Mother’s Motion to Suspend Father’s Access because of Coronavirus

On March 22nd, 2020, the mother brought an urgent motion to suspend all in-person access for the father because of concerns over COVID-19. Upon review of the mother’s motion, Justice A. Pazaratz did not feel that suspending the father’s access was warranted. The child’s relationship with both parents is vitally important. COVID-19 does not mean that the child cannot leave the residence to spend time with the other parent.

How to Keep Your Divorce Private

Divorce can happen to anyone, regardless of ethnicity, gender or social class. While we try to keep it as private as possible, if you are a public figure, social influencer or community leader, divorce can be quite a public event. When you engage in mediation, the details of your divorce are private and remain private. You have the same opportunities to go through full financial disclosure, business valuations and discuss relevant details of your co-parenting relationship. The big difference is that, in contrast to court which is public, mediation is a private process where the information exchanged is privileged and confidential. This also allows couples to speak freely and focus on the issues at hand without the fear of private becoming public.

How to Handle Divorce During Holidays

Brrrr…. separating during this already cold and dark season makes for an extra gloomy winter affair. It can quickly become a slippery slope into depression or unhealthy routines such as over-eating, over-drinking or self-medicating.

Divorcing but Still Under the Same Roof

Oftentimes, living together in the family home during divorce is a financial necessity. Many families experience this situation known as “nesting”. Let’s face it, you worked hard your entire married lives to secure a home for you and your children. Divorce was never part of the plan. Nonetheless, the divorce is happening. And when it “hits”, it hits hard, and it doesn’t just hit you emotionally. It hits your biggest asset which is, in most cases, your home!

What is a Parenting Plan? Why do I Need One?

When a couple separates, they, typically, address two major things in their separation agreement: property division and parenting arrangements.

Divorce, Custody and Access during Coronavirus: Maturity, Sensibility and Flexibility

This is not the time to threaten with court, lawyers and/or ultimatums During this crisis, you need to work with each other, not with the courts, to protect your children’s safety and well-being. Judges are not trained in parenting your children, especially during a global pandemic.

Grey Divorces: When Parents of Adult Children Divorce

Divorce in later life after decades of marriage often has more impact on adult children than children whose parents divorced earlier in their lives. The following tips can help address and alleviate the associated stresses the burden of grey divorce can have on adult children.

Is Mediation “Legally Binding”?

Agreements reached at mediation are legally binding. A separation agreement ensures that you are both, well, in agreement when it comes to the care of children, financial support and how to divide your accounts or other property when you separate.The separation agreement is a contract just like any other contract. Once it has been signed by the partners and witnessed, it becomes an “enforceable” or “legally binding” contract.A verbal agreement is just that, a verbal agreement and is very difficult to enforce if any problems should arise between you and your former partner.

We agree on everything. Should we still mediate?

Mediation is a lot more than just a conflict/(alternative) dispute resolution process. Many families just need good information, guidance, and support in making decisions that best fit their needs and saves them time and money.

My lawyer told me not to mediate. After $67,000 in legal fees and 3 years in court, I’m broken.

When they decided to separate, Lucy and her husband wanted to go through mediation. But her lawyer told her it’s a “waste of time and money”.

Family Court: Well-known Judge Tells You What You Need to Know, Before You Head that Way.

Family Court Judge, Harvey Brownstone, warns families about going to court. Ask anyone who has ever appeared in family court as a litigant – even if they had a lawyer – and they are almost certain to describe their experience as unsatisfactory. Why? What can be done to help people so that their family court experience is more predictable, more positive and constructive, less time-consuming, and consequently more beneficial to themselves and their children? An even more important question is, What can be done to help people avoid going to court in the first place?