Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Family Court called "Needlessly Adversarial"

More good news about family law from Canada's Telegraph-Journal. Well, it's good news and bad news really. The bad news is that the family court systems in Canada seem to be as poor a place to resolve divorce and child custody issues as the family courts in the U.S. The good news is that their government appears to recognize this problem and is working on providing mediation services for couples and parents who wish to work together in a more civilized and less litigious way.

Here is an excerpt:

FREDERICTON - The Liberal government is launching a pilot project that will give families the option of using mediation services to settle disputes outside of the family court system. The announcement came on the heels of a report released Tuesday that found New Brunswick's family court system was "needlessly adversarial, frustratingly slow and much too expensive."

Here's the link to the full article:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Divorce Mediation vs. Collaborative Law

Here's an interesting article out of Alberta indicating that the family law attorneys in Lethbridge have moved from the traditional litigation model of divorce litigation (each party has an attorney and the judge decides everything through hearings and court trials) to the collaborative divorce model which is a team approach using mental health and financial professionals in addition to the attorneys and everyone signs agreements to stay out of court.

The article is titled "Mediation a Team Effort." However, the article is not about mediation at all but is about the Collaborative Law divorce process. Other than the titling error, it is great PR for the collaborative process, which I think of as a close sibling of mediation. Both processes allow the client to have more control over the outcome and both processes are focused on keeping the family out of court and doing what is best for the individuals and their children.

Here is an excerpt:
“It’s a client-centred process,” [Collaborative Family Law Attorney Janis Pritchard] said Monday. “And they needed more than what I could offer.” Divorce, she reminded an audience from a variety of professional fields, is more than a legal issue. Finances are at stake, too, and so is the emotional and mental health of both parties. And during all that trauma, the real needs of children caught in the crossfire are sometimes overlooked. That’s why involving people with counselling or mental health training is essential — right from the start. “They have way better skills,” she said, and helping with the client’s emotional needs may be the first priority.

And here is the link to the article: