It is a Cheaper, Faster and Healthier way to end your marriage.
When you need a Lawyer
A Good Family Law Lawyer Should:
1. Know Family Law! Do not go to a lawyer that specializes in another form of law, such as real estate, contract, criminal, etc.
2. Be willing to work cooperatively with you and your Mediator.
3. Communicate with you effectively, clearly and in a timely manner. Your Family Law Lawyer should get firm instructions from you and follow them. Your Family Law Lawyer should answer your or your Mediator phone calls and/or emails in a reasonable timely manner. (Be aware that lawyers are often not at their office). Your Family Law Lawyer should resolve misunderstandings and communication problems with you away from the courtroom and in private.
4. Discuss your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). Your Family Law Lawyer should make sure that you know the limitations of the law and ensure that you understand the achievable goals and likely outcomes of each court appearance, including the costs.
5. Be well prepared. Your Family Law Lawyer should be up to date on changes in statutes, court rules and case law. They should not miss limitation periods (court filing deadlines) or file incomplete documentation if necessary. Both parties’ lawyers should have intensive discussions and negotiations well in advance of the court date to narrow the issues and decide how best to use the court time allocated to them. There should be no first meeting held immediately before the start of the court date. There should be no surprises sprung on the either party in the courtroom.
6. Be organized. Your Family Law Lawyer should know what he/she wants to accomplish at each court appearance and communicate this to the other party at least several weeks before the court date.
7. Be professional and courteous to other lawyers and ex-spouses at all times thereby retaining their objectivity.
8. Be practical and child-focused and settlement-oriented. Your Family Law Lawyer should encourage you to focus on the future and not validate your reasons for your separation and divorce.
9. Be a role-model in teaching their clients to adopt a more mature attitude and communication behaviours.
A Good Client Should:
1. Be willing to work cooperatively with your Lawyer and your Mediator.
2. Listen to your Lawyer’s knowledge about the guidelines and restrictions of Family Law. Understand that there are certain elements of Family Law that are not up for discussion (ex. Child Support payments).
3. Take your Lawyers advice. Your lawyer can only help you if you take his/her advice, even if you would rather not. If you have doubts about the accuracy of the legal advice you have received, get a second opinion. Follow your Lawyer’s advice, once you have confirmed its accuracy.
4. Discuss your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). Your Family Law lawyer should make sure that you know the limitations of the law and ensure that you understand the achievable goals and likely outcomes of mediation vs. court appearances, including the costs.
5. Be well prepared. Have contact (for both you and your spouse (and their lawyer)) and financial information readily available. Have dates of birth and school information for all children. Write out important time-lines of date of marriage, date of separation, dates of conflict(s) and/or other issues. Write out outcome instructions before your first meeting with your lawyer or mediator.
6. Understand that this is an emotional time and learn to control your anger. Mediation and litigation is not the time to try to get the judge, lawyers or mediators to validate your perceived victimization. Separated couples seem to relish the idea of rehashing every bad thing that each party did to the other throughout the entire relationship. Unlike popular belief this is not therapeutic and will not promote self-healing. It only serves to reopen old wounds and create new ones.
7. Consider Divorce Recovery sessions to resolve separation issues and promote self-healing. Divorce Recovery sessions will teach you how to control your triggers that make you angry and how to communicate effectively with your ex-spouse.
8. Be mature, loving and child-focused. In divorce, being mature means loving your children more than you dislike your ex-spouse. Being mature means that you must force yourself to deal with someone you hate in a civil and mature way.
Remember, your children will remember your every word, behaviour and action. They will learn from your words, behaviours and actions and carry these lessons into their adult life.
9. Be a role-model. Deal with your separation and divorce with dignity and maturity and civility so that your children learn from a positive role-model.
Divorce Mediation is facilitated negotiation within the boundaries of the Ontario Family Law Act.
At the Relationship Resolution Centre, Inc. all Mediators have been trained by the STITT FELD HANDY Group. We help couples focus of the necessary components to close down the 'business' of their marriage without the expense and emotional attacks.
Only 'Closed' Mediation is conducted at the Relationship Resolution Centre, Inc. This means that only items agreed upon will be included in any written documents and all other undecided issues can not be disclosed or discussed by staff of the RRC. Mediation begins with a signed Conduct Agreement that details how the mediation will be conducted, how participants are to conduct their behaviour during mediation, confidentiality and privacy of information, processes of mediation and potential results that can be expected and the necessity of legal counsel.
During mediation it may be necessary to have separate caucuses (one-on-one sessions) to discuss individual issues in private with the Mediator. The Mediator may also use this time to present a ‘reality check’ on your situation. This ‘reality check’ is known as a BATNA – Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. Often clients will need time to think about the offer(s) or simply time to calm down. You will decide what information from the Caucus can be shared.
The Mediators of the Relationship Resolution Centre, Inc. are also Divorce Recovery Coaches and can help with the stages of anger and despair.
Divorce Mediation participants must seek their own independent legal counsel to review the Mediated Summary and have it formatted into a Separation Agreement. See Tips section to understand what you should look for in a lawyer and how you can be a better client.