Mediation for the Middle Aged: Making Separation Choices Together


By the time a marriage has deteriorated to the point where divorce seems like the only option, it may seem to the soon-to-be-separated couple that relief is near at hand. The truth is divorce is not an easy process for anyone, no matter the circumstances of the relationship. For those over 50 years of age, matters are even more complicated. It may be, though, that mediation can help to streamline and simplify things.

Typically, middle-aged couples have been married for many years. Though children are not likely to be a concern, possessions that have accumulated will be. Also, over time, assets and income become intertwined, and extrication from the resulting web of finance can be time-consuming and stressful. Money can also be a factor when it comes to sorting out finances; the cost of filing a subpoena for records in British Columbia or having accountants troll through statements can be exorbitant, and someone has to pay those bills.

A divorce is an emotional event with some experts likening it to experiencing a death in the family. Separation means not only the end of a relationship, but it may also mean the loss of income, lifestyle and possessions. While mediation may not make it any less upsetting, men and women who mediate instead of going to court may expose themselves to less hostility and will hopefully make decisions in a better frame of mind than they may have otherwise.

For those couples who have not become entirely estranged, going through the divorce process with a family law firm may be an option. Mediation allows for the possibility of a calm and reasonable exit from a relationship that no longer works. Using an experienced mediator knowledgeable about British Columbia law may help make the step from an old life to a new one easier to take.

Source: Star News Online, “Divorce after 50“, Melisa Riley, Sept. 1, 2016

Jolie-Pitt Seperation the Perfect Case for Mediation


Celebrity divorce stories are seemingly an everyday occurrence. The latest break-up to hit the tabloids and the internet gossip sites is that of the world-famous Hollywood couple, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. In their story, we can see one of the key reasons to consider mediation when going through a divorce, even for regular citizens of British Columbia.

The two actors have both stated publicly how important their children are to them. That said, it may be interesting to see what role the children play during the divorce proceedings. For many couples, children can become unwitting pawns during a separation.

For couples splitting up, however, the well-being of any children should be a priority. Parental duties persist, even after marital responsibilities have ended. As one expert points out, even after a divorce, ex-spouses must still share space with each other at events for the children such as birthdays, graduations and even weddings. Doing so after contentious litigation could be very uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Emotions sometimes run high during a divorce, and this can lead to fighting. Protracted court battles may seem like the only way to ensure one gets what he or she feels is fair, and they can also be used to further upset the other person. It is good to remember that a family doesn’t end when a marriage does. It is possible to have a healthy family life after divorce if everyone involved has their feelings treated with respect during the process. Mediation with the help of a family law firm familiar with divorce law in British Columbia might be the best way to achieve this goal.

Source: parade.com, “Divorce Watch: What Can We Learn from the Jolie-Pitt Journey?“, Dr. Nancy Berk, Sept. 21, 2016

Ex-Spouses Can be Friends; Collaborative Law Can be the Start


When some couples find their marriages are no longer working out, they may make the difficult decision to go their separate ways. And though marriage wasn’t right for these men and women, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are entirely incompatible. Many ex-husbands and ex-wives in British Columbia continue to be friends after divorce, and collaborative law might be just the springboard for this kind of relationship.

Ex-couples that have successfully transitioned into friends often cite certain strategies they employed. Keeping a sense of humour about the situation has proven for many to be a key to avoiding negativity. Forgiveness is also essential for those moving forward in a positive manner. Many have stated that sharing responsibility for the breakdown of the marriage helps them avoid falling into the trap of laying blame.

Those with children find it helpful to focus on what’s best for the kids. Parenting as partners is healthier for all involved than doing it as adversaries. Perhaps most important of all is to choose the life you want to lead after divorce and then see it though. Choosing friendship, or at least cooperation, over dispute and despair may pave the way for a happier life.

A contested and litigated divorce proceeding is probably not the best way to start along this new road of post-marriage partnership. Collaborative law offers couples seeking separation a chance to settle their affairs amicably, without entering a courtroom battlefield. Men and women who have made the decision to divorce, but wish to start their new life on the right foot might wish to consult with a family law group here in British Columbia.

Source: The Huffington Post, “These Exes Became Friendly After Divorce. Here’s How They Did It.“, Carolin Lehmann, Sept. 12, 2016

Collaborative Law Might Prevent Years of Child Custody Litigation


A litigated divorce in British Columbia, or anywhere in Canada, can become a messy situation. Even couples that were once on the same page, may find themselves in heated and protracted struggles to get what each individual wants. Child custody arrangements are often the most hotly contested decisions made during and after a separation. A Canadian couple that opted for legal battles over collaborative law has been mired in the courts for three years as they seek to establish a home for their two children.

Married in Toronto in 2000, the couple moved overseas in 2001. Their children were born abroad in 2002 and 2005. Though primarily raised outside the country, the children are citizens of Canada, only. The couple separated in 2011, and temporary custody of the children was granted to the father.

In April 2013, the mother brought the children from Germany to Canada to attend school. The father gave his written permission, and temporary custody was passed to the mother. The father tried to bring the children back in 2014, but the mother refused. An Ontario Superior Court ruled the children’s principal residence was in Germany, and an order was made for them to return.

A Divisional Court overturned that decision, determining that the principal residence had changed, and that there was no violation of the Hague Convention, a treaty dealing with international child abduction. In 2016, three years after they came to Canada, an Appeals Court ordered that they be sent back to Germany, thus reversing the Superior Court’s reversal. The court determined the visit to Canada was supposed to be temporary, and that the children’s true home was in Germany.

This lengthy legal process has no doubt been very hard on the parents and the children. The legal system strives but struggles to balance the wording of the laws with the needs of all those involved in child custody cases. Choosing collaborative law over the British Columbia courts may provide couples who are willing to work together a way to settle their differences in a less stressful and time-consuming manner.

Source: National Post, “Canadian kids must go back to Germany where father lives, court rules“, Colin Perkel, Sept. 14, 2016

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