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Ottawa Mediation Law Blog

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 the couple has children. They will be linked for life through important milestones in their children’s lives. The parties must maintain an amicable relationship if only for their children’s sake.

If the 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.

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.

Breach of trust a vital point in Ontario separation and divorce

Many couples may have lived together as romantic life partners for years before agreeing to tie the knot. Once formally married, a new layer of meaning is added to the relationship whence the urban legend that "marriage changes everything." This ineffable element may strengthen the trust between spouses, or erode it. 

It may or may not be true that, once married, people change. Perhaps only perceptions change. There are cases, however, in which the habits and actions of one spouse may become so pernicious to the health and welfare of the other that family law will take notice. Still, accountability under the law is complex and falls under many headings. Legal definitions of what constitutes harm are best understood by experienced family law lawyers.

The ins and outs of family law mediation for divorce

When you and your spouse decide to separate, there may be concerns you have about various issues pertaining to certain things like child and spousal support, dividing your property, and how to parent your children. If one or more of these things present themselves as contentious issues, you may find that mediation can help you come to a positive solution both you and your spouse can agree on.

Family mediation can be used as a voluntary means of trying to sort out the issues of your divorce while avoiding more time-consuming and stressful litigation. You and your partner will need to be on the same page when it comes to wanting to work together toward a solution for mediation to work, and if you have children, mediation always concentrates on solutions that are best for them.

Avoiding financial infidelity in Ontario separation and divorce

It's always desirable for couples to maintain an overall "need-to-know" communication policy in their relationship. This would include everything from the start time of the kids' hockey game to money and assets, whether held in Ontario or elsewhere. As a recent Canadian poll suggests, not disclosing one's financial status can lead to relationship mayhem and, by inference, to separation and divorce.

Indeed, full and complete financial disclosure by both parties constitutes an important part of the legal process governing divorce. Before arriving at that stage in a partnership, however, the survey results imply ways to avoid falling into the financial infidelity trap. Nearly four out of 10 Canadians surveyed admitted to either withholding information or simply lying about the current or ongoing state of their finances to their partners.

Helping children cope with separation and divorce in Ontario

In times past, the dissolution of a marriage catapulted a couple into the margins of society. Virtually no organizations existed to offer support through the before and after of separation and divorce. Experts in addressing the needs of children were few and far between. Since then, Ontario has become one of the most progressive provinces in offering assistance to divorcing couples and their children.

There is no one way to tell children that their mother and father no longer wish to live together. Moreover, when acting as parents, all adults address their children in ways characteristic of their personalities- -- some positive, some neutral and some negative. In a culture inundated with psychological insights- -- some more valid than others -- there now exist recommendations about how to best prepare a child for the changes to come.

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