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The ChatGPT Lawyer

Are lawyers being replaced? Not so fast! Could ChatGPT fill gaps in the arena of access to justice? Cautiously, yes. Could it contribute to efficiency? Perhaps! Can it successfully level the playing field for self-represented litigants? Not yet! The reticence in my answers should not be surprising. ChatGPT has been around for a mere four months. While any help we …
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Try mediation and jump the queue: mediation is “faster, less expensive and more effective”!

Exploring mediation can move your case forward through the litigation process.. in more ways than one. Prior to the March 1, 2021 Divorce Act changes, lawyers had a duty to inform clients about mediation facilities. The Divorce Act changes now places a duty on lawyers to encourage clients to attempt to resolve matters through a family dispute resolution process. There is also a duty on …
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A child-focused approach to child support mediation

The recent decision of Davies J. in Lange v Lange & Tait (2022 ONSC 6412) is a good example of how child-focused mediation can help parents resolve disputes in the best interests of the children. Ms. Lange and Mr. Tait had a child together as a result of a brief relationship. By the time the child was born, Ms. Lange …
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Ages and Stages: Parenting Time for a 20 month old

A recent decision by Shore, J., in Czyzewski v Fabro (2022 ONSC 4883) is a helpful guide for family mediators and arbitrators when helping parents determine the best interests of a very young child. The case is about a father with relatively limited parenting time seeking a week-about parenting schedule. The father was unable to accommodate a different time-sharing arrangement …
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Mediating-arbitrating child support and s. 7 expenses for children attending university

co-authored by Hilary Linton   We often work with parties who are unrepresented or whose counsel do not attend the mediation. This places added pressure on mediators to remain current with the law. The recent case of Craig v Niro (2022 ONSC 5178) is an instructive primer on the law of child support and s. 7 expenses for a child …
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Screening for Parenting Coordination: it is a very different thing

Screening for power imbalances and family violence is mandated by Regulation 134/07 under the Arbitration Act. That Regulation requires family arbitrators, including parenting coordinators, to certify that they have screened both parents separately for power imbalances and family violence before they conduct any arbitrations and also throughout their retainer. Lawyers, parents, judges, and even some PCs are not always aware that …
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Family Mediation Research Confirms: Mediation Works!

Family mediation is here to stay as a viable alternative to dispute resolution. Be it court-connected or private mediation, the process is successful for so many reasons, including timely resolution and interest-based settlements. Although mediation is not mandatory, recent Divorce Act changes require that clients be encouraged to explore resolutions through a family dispute resolution process, unless it is not …
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(As in Ontario) The Alberta Court of Appeal (correctly) confirms: Courts cannot order a PC

A recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision has confirmed that a court cannot order parents to retain a parenting coordinator. In SSG and SKG (2022 ABCA 379 CanLII) the trial judge had, after a lengthy trial, ordered the parents to “retain a parenting coordinator with arbitration powers to resolve day-to-day conflict that may arise related to the detailed parenting plan …
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