Setting the course for a positive relationship after divorce

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Collaborative Law on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.

Divorce can be amicable, even if it is difficult. Especially when the divorcing spouses will need to co-parent their children after the split, there is a growing interest in Canada for divorced couples to go forward with positive — albeit nonmarital —relationships that benefit them and their kids alike. 

The Globe and Mail just published a comprehensive article that looks at these issues more closely, including unconventional living arrangements and parental relationships that can benefit the children. According to the article, Statistics Canada found in 2008 that 41 percent of Canadian marriages will end before the couples celebrate their thirtieth anniversaries. That means a lot of couples have to figure out how they will relate after their marriages are dissolved, especially when children are involved. 

The way people divorce sets the tone for the next phase of life. Instead of going to court for a divorce trial that sets them at opposite sides of an often-bitter dispute, a couple can choose from various alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, methods to negotiate a settlement agreement of all the legal issues in divorce, including child custody, parenting time, property division, child support, spousal support and more. 

Alternatives to court that are nonadversarial and minimize conflict include: 

  • Arbitration, in which a neutral third person listens to each party and examines the evidence and makes a binding decision for the couple
  • Mediation, in which a mediator specially trained in conflict resolution methods and communication techniques helps the two spouses through negotiation to an agreement
  • Collaborative divorce, in which the spouses participate in a unique process outside of court in which they sit down together with their respective lawyers and any helpful neutral professionals (parenting consultants, financial advisors, appraisers and so on) to create an agreement 

The lawyers at Alberta’s Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP represent divorce clients in all of these ADR methods as well as in traditional negotiation and litigation, if necessary.