Mediation May Make Divorce Easier on Children, Both Young and Old

There’s a saying that goes, “no man is an island.” The same is true of a married couple; the decisions a husband and wife make together impact those around them, especially their children. If the decision is to get a divorce, more than just their two lives are going to change. For some British Columbia families, mediation may help to ease the transition.

When a family splits into pieces, the upheaval can be difficult on everyone, but especially on children. Young children may not be emotionally equipped to understand exactly what is going on with their parents. They are, however, sensitive to the emotions around them.

For teenagers, this can be an especially trying time. Changing where they live, where they go to school and even who their friends are is challenging emotionally, and teenagers are more likely to develop a mental illness during a time of many changes. Even adult children of divorce (popularly known as “ACODs”) can also suffer. Some parents may find themselves turning to their kids for support if they view them as adults, when it is in fact the children who need support from their parents.

According to one expert, a child’s ability to recover from a divorce depends in part on how the parents deal with the separation. For some couples, pursuing a divorce through mediation may offer the best way toward a less painful divorce. By working together with a family law group here in British Columbia, it may be possible to find a separation solution that makes everyone involved feel a little better.

Source: The Sheridan Sun, “I now pronounce you ‘ACOD’“, Kennedy Coltherd, Oct. 9, 2016

Level the Playing Field With Collaborative Law

It is the duty of an attorney to represent a client to the best of his or her ability. This means using whatever knowledge and skill one possesses to best advantage, and the needs and wants of the opposing counsel are not the first priority. The annulment proceedings of a high-power Canadian couple highlight the possible impact of such a situation and make a compelling case for the use of collaborative law, whether the separation is here in British Columbia or anywhere across the country.

Eleanor McCain, an heiress to the McCain Foods company, filed for an annulment to end her brief marriage to Jeff Melanson, the former CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, in March 2016. More than half a dozen lawyers are now involved in the separation, and it has become a bitter dispute between the former spouses. But the focus of McCain’s fight is currently on Melanson’s attorney.

His lawyer has previously been involved with three McCain family divorces, and McCain believes he may be privy to private and potentially damaging information about her gained from the early cases. Specifically, she and her team are concerned about testimony given by psychologists and mediators during her last divorce, a divorce in which he represented her now ex-husband, Greg David. Her lawyers are arguing to have him removed from the case, and a recent hearing ran for eight and a half hours.

With so much attention being given to her estranged husband’s lawyer, no progress is being made on the annulment itself. It seems likely that a large amount of time and money will be expended on this process. And though it is an extreme situation, it illustrates the unpleasant path that a litigated separation can take when former spouses take out their frustrations on each other. The alternative route for couples in British Columbia who wish to part ways is to agree to use collaborative law, and consult with a family law firm to help them settle matters together.

Source: National Post, “McCain heiress wants to disqualify husband’s “nightmare” lawyer because she fears him, court told“, Victor Ferreira, Sept. 29, 2016

Parental Alienation: Collaborative Law Can Help you Avoid It

Divorce does not always bring out the best in people. It may be that a couple has decided to end their marriage for unpleasant reasons, and they may find they resent one another. In cases like these, ex-spouses will sometimes use anything at their disposal to upset their former partner, including their own children. The use of collaborative law, a practice gaining popularity in British Columbia, might be the key to avoiding such an unfortunate occurrence.

When a divorce turns into a battle, sometimes the war continues long after the litigation has ended. Some parents will even use their children to hurt their ex-spouse. By persuading the child to believe the other parent is not a good person, or doesn’t love them as much, a situation known as ‘parental alienation’ can be created. In cases of parental alienation, the child or children have little to no positive contact with one parent.

The phenomenon was first described in detail by a forensic psychiatrist in the 1980s. It is, in effect, a kind of brainwashing and many consider it to be a form of child abuse. Sadly, it is far too common. Statistics from the United States show that parental alienation affects 13 percent of parents. Potential negative outcomes for both the parent and the child include anxiety disorders and depression.

While men and women who are about to divorce are seldom in a happy place, that doesn’t necessarily mean proceedings need to be uncivil. If differences can be set aside, at least in part, it may be possible to work out a divorce solution in a non-combative environment. Choosing collaborative law, and the support of a family law firm that thoroughly understands British Columbia divorce proceedings, may help avoid a heartbreaking future for a family.

Source: Parent Herald, “Parental Alienation [LATEST NEWS]: Why It Is Time To End The Tragic Reality Of A Parent’s Psychological Manipulation Of Children“, KJ Williams, Oct. 8, 2016

Finances Should be a Focus of Collaborative Law Process

Making the decision to get a divorce means choosing to begin a new life. Much of what an individual took for granted as a married person will likely be very different as a single person. It is important to give consideration to how that new life will function, most especially the financial aspects. Those considering a collaborative law approach to separation in British Columbia have a unique chance to sit down and discuss those aspects with their soon-to-be former partner and with legal advisers.

One American expert says there are four key financial areas to think about during a divorce. The first is the division of assets. Everything a couple owns needs to be either disposed of or taken into someone’s possession. This includes anything from real estate and vehicles, down to appliances, electronics and even home decor.

Accumulated debt is the second aspect, and it is, unfortunately, something that needs to be shared between former partners. How these debts will be managed will be a key part of divorce proceedings. Thirdly, how a married couple’s tax situation will change needs to be investigated. For example, the possible sale of real estate will impact each person’s capital gains for the year. And if there are children, the matter of child benefit payments needs to be considered.

Which leads to the fourth and final aspect: children. Raising a child is expensive, and it is a good idea to agree early upon how the child or children will be supported after the divorce. Custody arrangements must be made, and possibly support payments will have to be set up.

Family law in British Columbia sets out guidelines for the division of assets after a divorce. However, there is still much to be discussed and settled for any couple that is separating. Using the services of a family law firm may take much of the stress and worry out of divorce proceedings by utilizing collaborative law to help create a plan for a financially sustainable future.

Source:, “4 Top Money Issues In Divorce“, Colin Amos, Oct. 24, 2016