Mediation Allows Parents to Stay Flexible as Children Grow

When parents in British Columbia go through a divorce, it may be difficult to keep the best interests of the children in the forefront. Divorce may involve a tangle of emotions, and many decisions made at the time are often intended to last for decades after the papers are signed. However, when it comes to child custody arrangements, parents may need to allow a great deal of flexibility as children change and grow. Mediation allows parents to arrive at a more fluid schedule that can change over time.

An infant boy who is still nursing needs more time with his mother. However, when he is a teenager, he may benefit from spending more time with his father. Parents who have created a plan that can adapt through those changes are more able to make parenting decisions as a team instead of having their lives ruled by a court document.

Even day to day alterations to schedules can be made if the parents remain open and cooperative. If a child has a school project or homework, he or she may prefer to stay at one parent’s house rather than going to the other. Likewise, if one parent wants to take the children on vacation, a flexible schedule can allow for that change in plans.

During mediation, parents can leave a parenting plan vague enough to adapt for natural changes that occur as life progresses and children grow. Parents in British Columbia who are facing divorce may wish to speak to an attorney about mediation. An experienced lawyer can answer their questions and guide them through the options for making this emotional time less stressful.

Source:, “Parenting after divorce easier with flexible scheduling“, Brandie Weikle, July 28, 2016

Will Meditation Work for Every Separation?

Mediation, like other forms of alternative dispute resolution, can be a time and money saver for those about to separate. Instead of hiring a legal team and facing off in court, using a mediator allows for a simpler, more harmonious exit for both parties. But how does a couple decide if it is right for them? Here are a few factors to consider for anyone contemplating mediation in British Columbia.

First, it is important that each individual is willing and able to communicate in a reasonable manner. Mediation will not work if there is an excess of animosity or either party insists on antagonizing the other. Clearly, an abusive relationship is not a likely candidate for any kind of alternative dispute resolution.

Second, there must be a degree of trust still left between the two parties. For example, if one does not believe his or her partner is hiding anything, such as secret bank accounts or other concealed assets, no forensic accounting is likely necessary. When all joint assets are laid out in plain view, a mediator can work with a couple to establish a fair division. Finally, it is important to go into mediation with both parties believing the process can work. If a couple has tried a form of mediation or counselling in the past without success, there is likely no reason to imagine it will work now, but for those couples who have previously worked through some of their issues, mediation offers one last opportunity to work together for a mutually agreeable separation.

A contested divorce, like many legal undertakings, can be costly in terms of both time and money. Lawyers, paralegals and accountants are all professionals who may need to be hired, all of whom will bill for fees and expenditures. One should also factor in the cost, both tangible and otherwise, to oneself for taking time from work or giving up spare time to appear in court and at appointments. Before resigning oneself to an unwanted outlay of money, it might be worth considering mediation through a British Columbia family law firm as an alternative to litigation.

Collaborative Law Can Help One Avoid Unpleasant Litigation

Getting divorced means making choices. If one has already made the choice to change his or her life, there is still the need to decide what is wanted out of the separation, such as how assets will be divided, matters related to the care of children and the method to be used during divorce proceedings. An array of options exists today for anyone going through a divorce in British Columbia that many may not have considered. Collaborative law can allow someone to achieve his or her goal of independence on terms that suit both the individual and his or her partner.

If a legal separation is being considered, thoughts of a protracted and expensive court battle are likely present also. The truth is, an exit strategy that fits the particulars of the situation can be chosen, and it does not need to be messy. Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of divorces are handled without the use of legal counsel. When assets are limited or uncomplicated, especially if there are no children involved, some fairly simple paperwork may be all that stands between two people and the freedom they want. However, if simplicity does not describe one’s situation, there are still choices available that do not include a courtroom.

If the reasons for ending a marriage include high-risk factors, such as physical or verbal abuse, a quick exit is the most desirable. Consulting with local resources that have experience dealing with such cases, like support groups, a family law attorney or even the police, are often the best way to start. These resources can help get the protection needed to safely leave a relationship.

For more amicable separations, taking advantage of the process of collaborative law is an excellent consideration. As the term implies, it has the weight of law behind it, meaning whatever decisions are made are legally binding. But unlike litigation, it is a cooperative process in which lawyers and consultants work together with a family to make a clean break that takes to heart the best interests of everyone involved.

For many, getting divorced is not an easy choice to make. This will be just one of many difficult decisions. But beginning with the decision to work through a divorce with an alternative dispute resolution firm in British Columbia will make all future choices much simpler.

Source:, “Choose the kind of divorce best suited to your needs“, Myra Fleischer, July 18, 2016

When Divorce Season Hits, Seek Shelter with Collaborative Law

When a couple makes the decision to separate, the spouses may in fact be the victims of a form of a seasonal disorder. A study conducted in Washington, whose residents experience seasons very similar to those in British Columbia, suggests spring and summer are key times for divorce. Collaborative law is probably not the first thing on the mind of those who get caught up in the moment, but it perhaps should be.

Researchers from the University of Washington analyzed data on divorce filings between 2001 and 2015 in the state of Washington. Intriguingly, they found a correlation between certain seasons and a spike in the number of divorces. Twice a year, in the months of March and August, there is a marked upturn in the number of filings.

The sociologists conducting the study believe the seasonal spikes may be related to what they term “domestic ritual.” This is a reference to yearly recurring family-oriented events, such as vacations and holidays. During these times, emotions and expectations often run high, even when past events have led to disappointment.

With the annual return of these ritual events, couples in trouble may believe a time for renewal is at hand. When the winter holidays turn sour, however, disenchanted husbands or wives may spend the next few weeks getting their affairs in order before filing for divorce, hence the spike in March. And if it is the summer holidays that fail to deliver a new beginning, there often follows a scramble to end a marriage before children go back to school.

Science seems to be backing up the notion that when emotions run hot they can run roughshod over rational thought. However, anyone considering divorce should be thinking things through before taking the next step. Rather than being swept up in the heat of the moment, couples would be better served by calm and cooperative approaches to ending situations that are no longer working. Enlisting the help of a law group experienced with collaborative law in British Columbia is a rational first step, no matter the season.

Source: Medical Daily, “Is There A Divorce Season? Study Finds Divorce Filings Rise After Winter And Summer Holidays“, Suman Varandani, August 21, 2016

Jon and Kate: How Collaborative Law Might Have Helped

Celebrities seem to exist in a world of their own, and it is a world fraught with messy divorces. Tabloids thrive on these stories, while most people barely bat an eye in surprise or spend much time worrying about them. The truth is that these are all real people going through real challenges, many of which are not unlike those faced by average British Columbia couples. For an excellent example that is relatively easy to understand, consider the lives of former reality TV couple Jon and Kate Gosselin and then ponder what collaborative law could have done for them.

The couple who became famous for the series “Jon & Kate Plus 8” divorced in 2009. Kate remained with the children and briefly continued the television program. In recent days, Kate has claimed that her ex-husband began acting erratically shortly before their split, spending money on vehicles and staying out late at night.

On August 24, 2016, Jon spoke out about his ex-wife’s allegations. Speaking in his own defence, Jon claimed that the delay between the occurrence of events and the airing of the show made it seem as if he had been acting selfishly before the divorce, when in fact the divorce had already happened. He now has a strained relationship with his children, who he admits he rarely sees since the split.

Few people will ever understand the unique pressures faced by families in the limelight. There are, however, lessons that can be learned from stories like these. For any couple going through a break up, collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution offer the chance for a couple to split amicably and set terms agreeable to both parties. By working with a law firm focused on family law, men and women in British Columbia who are ending their marriages may be able to avoid the unfortunate pitfalls into which so many seem to fall.

Source:, “Kate Gosselin Says Jon Changed ‘Overnight,’ Praises Daughter Mady For Speaking Out Against Him“, August 26, 2016