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Ottawa Mediation Law Blog

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a legal process that allows two parties to resolve a conflict on their own. Each party may have their own legal counsel to advise them on how to position their needs or goals, but the process itself is usually between a meditator and the two parties.

It’s a form of alternative dispute resolution, which means that the discussions and negotiations happen outside of a courtroom. If you have a list of items that need to be resolved, using mediation may help you resolve a few of them. This can help you reduce your legal fees by only taking the most contentious issues to court.

3 ways divorce gets ugly

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, divorce doesn’t have to become ugly. However, the unfortunate reality is that many divorces do result in an ugly dispute inside and outside of court. The crumbling of a marriage often draws the worst out of a person during divorce.

Divorce only magnifies the damaging issues that brought the marriage to an end in the first place. It gets worse when these hurts are not only magnified, but mishandled. An “ugly” divorce results.

Is 'nesting' a trend worth considering after divorce?

Some parents may not like the idea of a traditional parenting solution that involves their child going back and forth between parents. This is especially true when the children are younger, as they may need some time to adapt to new parenting arrangements. Under these circumstances, you might consider a non-traditional option, like nesting.

As this article notes, nesting is an arrangement where children remain in the matrimonial home after their parents separate or divorce. The parents then move in and out of the house - or "nest" - in accordance with their parenting schedule.

How Does The Collaborative Divorce Process Work?

Traditional divorce litigation costs time, money and emotional heartache. The divorcing parties see the process as a battle. A collaborative divorce process takes a much different approach. It helps the parties end one relationship and begin a new one - especially if there are children present. Parents will be linked for life through important milestones in their children's lives. They must maintain an amicable relationship if only for their children's sake.

If a collaborative divorce goes smoothly, the couple and their children will be spared the emotional, financial and psychological drain of litigation. They will be in a much better position to move on with their lives.

Who gets to keep the pets following a divorce or separation?

If you own pets, you probably have countless memories of playing with them, walking them and helping them get well when they were sick. It's natural to feel a sense of loss when you are no longer able to enjoy a pet's company anymore.

For many people, this happens to be the case following a separation or divorce. Provincial laws generally state that pets are considered the property of the person who purchased the animal. However, many separated couples across Canada are trying to make the case that pets should not be treated this way.

Are you properly prepared for the divorce mediation process?

Once you and your partner have made the decision that your marriage is not salvageable, you may be intent on moving forward with the divorce process using mediation. However, you will want to first make sure that you are adequate candidates for mediation, and being screened by a prospective mediator will help to ensure that this non-traditional form of divorce is applicable for your unique situation.

Once you ascertain that mediation is a good route for you to follow and in your best interests – which is after your mediator asks you a few questions – you'll be able to move forward with the mediation process.

Avoiding tax headaches in Ontario separation and divorce

Spring may be in the air when April arrives, but it also signals tax reporting time. For Ontario couples who have undergone separation and divorce and are also spousal support payors or recipients, calculating returns can be a headache. Who gets to claim what, and how, is a question that family law lawyers hear repeatedly as filing deadlines loom.

Thankfully, some simple guidelines can be applied because tax laws recognize the reality that two households are more expensive to maintain than one. If, at the time of separation, written agreements or court-ordered papers have been appropriately filed, both payors and recipients of spousal support can make claims for the year due for report. What complicates matters is the difference in each ex-spouse's marginal tax rate.

Workplace issues during Ontario separation and divorce

Some people work to live, while others live to work. With 24/7 access to work tasks that modern technology provides, more Canadians spend more time working than ever. Whether this is a rational way to live is debatable, but when Ontario couples are undergoing separation and divorce while also working, stress levels can lead to burn-out.

It doesn't have to be that way. Many employers have employee assistance programmes (EAP) which include counselling and legal advice. However, such legal help may be limited to court-arbitrated processes if legal advisors are not trained in mediation or collaborative family law. These are known to be less time-consuming and may dramatically reduce the stresses associated with divorce, particularly when workplace demands remain constant.

Life after separation and divorce in Ontario

It may be that statistics, rather than technology or climate change, will diminish society as we know it today. When surveys and polls are conducted, they are rife with assumptions despite claims of being objective and neutral. Whether the subject is marriage or separation and divorce, Ontario couples should be wary of results culled from information in surveys.

Embedded in survey questions are presuppositions about what the answers should be. For example, asking "why did your marriage fail?" colours the respondents' view of what divorce is -- in this case, a social and personal failure. The experience of family law lawyers can help avoid such deplorable negativity by asserting the positive outcomes that divorce may bring to each partner.

Collaborative family law the Alt Divorce Way

When Ontario couples decide to end their marriages, most of them are determined to get their divorces over and done in the quickest and most painless possible way -- also with a minimum of antagonism and stressful conflict. Is that even possible? The answer is yes -- collaborative family law allows couples to navigate divorce settlement agreements and move forward with all the bitterness and contention left behind.

However, if you choose this process, you must retain the services of a specially qualified collaborative family lawyer. You can find such lawyers at two professional Ottawa family law corporations that promote settlements and facilitate negotiations the Alt Divorce Way. This is done by utilizing a team approach, allowing each spouse along with the respective lawyers to sit down to negotiate a settlement in a cooperative manner by utilizing a number of impartial participants, which could include financial planners, accountants, appraisers and even therapists. It takes place in safe, neutral surroundings where communication and compromise are encouraged.

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