Is Mediation Right For Us?

Mediation as it relates to divorce and family law is becoming increasingly common. One of the main reasons for this is that parents are trying to find a way to ease the stress and conflict associated with traditional divorces. If you aren’t sure if mediation is right for you, the following considerations may help.

  • You don’t have to be on excellent terms with your partner to benefit from mediation. Many people have a picture of two very friendly people amicably parting ways as the only way mediation will work. While this may certainly make it easier, couples who have communication issues can also use mediation successfully. The mediator’s job is to make sure that communication stays civil and one party does not dominate the discussions, making it much easier for the parties to come to an agreement.
  • The mediator is not making the final decisions. Many people get confused between arbitration and mediation. In mediation, the mediator’s role is to simply be a facilitator. The mediator does not make decisions about what is fair or side with one party.
  • Mediation can offer more privacy than traditional divorce methods. Many filings related to a divorce are considered public record. With mediation, however, the only filing is the final agreement, which means any accusations are left out of the official court records.

Many people are interested in using mediation to get through their divorce or custody issues but are worried it may not work for them. If mediation sounds like something you’d like to consider, setting up a meeting with a lawyer to go over your options and what to expect is the first step.

Source:, “Challenging The Myths Surrounding Divorce Mediation,” Dr. Lynne C. Halem, accessed May 27, 2016

Apps Can Help with Co-Parenting

Looking for ways to make co-parenting easier in British Columbia? Hoping to reduce conflict between you and your spouse? Below are a few apps that may be able to help.

Chore Monster

The focus of this app is to make your kids want to do their chores, making the work into a game. This is helpful if one parent is good at putting his or her foot down and making the children do their chores, but the other parent isn’t.


Like Uber and Lyft, this is a ride-sharing app. However, unlike those two, which often target adults and business professionals, this one is made to help your kids get a ride. If it’s hard—or impossible—to get the kids to all of their activities when you have them alone, this can give you the assistance you need.

Google Calendar

An online calendar is often far easier to use than any other option. You can schedule out your day, set up reminders, and share the schedule with your ex. This helps the two of you plan out what you need to do regarding your kids, even if you rarely see each other in real life.


Money is a big issue with divorced parents, and this app helps keep track of it. If you have to pay for something that your spouse should help with, you can use the app to record it and figure out who owes what. Having an electronic record of all of this can be very nice if there is a dispute.

When figuring out your co-parenting plan, be sure you know all of your legal rights.

Source: Parent Herald, “Co-Parenting Technology: 5 Useful Apps For Divorced Parents,” Kristine Walker, May 04, 2016

Turn First to Alternate Dispute Resolution

Slugging it out in court with your ex wastes valuable resources and is stressful for all concerned. Most importantly, the kids will likely be adversely affected by the acrimony and animosity between their parents.

But there is a better way to settle differences involving child custody and other disputes of family law. The passage of British Columbia’s Family Law Act leaves the door open to alternative dispute resolution, wherein the opposing parties first attempt to resolve their differences instead of immediately heading to the courts to litigate their matters before the court.

Not every case will be a good fit for ADR. In circumstances where there have been incidents of domestic violence or one party routinely bullies the other, ADR would be inappropriate due to the possibility of undue influence being imposed on one party by the other.

However, when the two parties are able to remain civil with one another and are able to focus on the issues and consider the best interests of any minor children, this method of dispute resolution can be ideal.

Not only can it be faster and cheaper than a long, drawn-out court battle, resolving differences through negotiations and mediation can preserve what remains of relationships between divorcing spouses. Especially when there are children from the union, the parties will still have to deal with one another for years to come at family events and childhood milestones. When all parties are able to act respectfully, it can be a much more convivial environment for the kids.

Our lawyers seek to utilise this ADR process whenever possible, yet always remain prepared to litigate issues that defy resolution. If you are struggling to resolve family law matters, we can assist you.

Who Can Serve as an Arbitrator In a B.C Divorce?

In many family law cases, the parties decide to have an arbitrator settle their dispute out of court. The arbitrator will hear both sides of the issue and make a decision for you.

In some cases, negotiation or mediation might be used in addition to arbitration. The parties do have the freedom to determine exactly how to have the arbitration process set up. The rules, though, must be agreed to in writing by everyone before the process can begin.

The Family Law Act guides arbitrators and whatever decision the arbitrator makes must be consistent with that law. There are several standards that must be met by the arbitrators when it comes to training and practice. The Family Law Act also states what those standards are.

The arbitrator must:

— Be a social worker, psychologist or lawyer.

— Have 10 years’ experience in a field relating to family or family law.

— Have completed training in a multitude of topics, including arbitration, skills development, family law, family violence and decision-making.

It is recommended that you inquire as to an arbitrator’s training before starting the process. Social workers or psychologists can only be arbitrators for issues related to children or child support.

While arbitration is not the right choice for everyone, it can result in a significant amount of time and money savings. You can learn more by contacting the British Columbia Arbitration and Mediation Institute. Because family law encompasses so many areas of the law, having someone to hear your case who is experienced is very important. He or she will be making decisions that will affect your family for years to come.